The enormous human dependency on the internet and technology in the 21st century has resulted in new revenue streams and business models for enterprises. On the other side, it has opened new frontiers for hackers to exploit. According to McAfee, cybercrime cost the global economy as much as 600 billion USD in 2017 and predictions are that it will be 6 trillion USD by 2021. Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world, and one of the biggest problems with mankind these days.
Very recently hackers used artificial intelligence to mimic CEO's voice and demand a fraudulent transfer of $243,000 and that transfer actually happened. This is just one instance to show how intense cyber attacks have become.
Blockchain that initially emerged as backend technology of cryptocurrency is becoming a vital tool to combat today's emerging cyber-attacks. One of the inherent strength of Blockchain or distributed ledger technology is its resiliency to cyber-attack. Blockchain unique structure provides cybersecurity capabilities not present in other legacy technologies. In this article, we will see how blockchain can be used to enhancing cybersecurity.
Prevention against DDoS Attack
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are nothing new, they are increasing in severity, complexity, and frequency and have therefore become a mainstream concern for businesses and private customers alike. In 2016, popular Mirai botnet launched a massive DDoS attack that took down popular websites (Twitter, Github, Amazon, etc).
The current difficulty in preventing DDoS attacks comes from the existing centralized Domain Name System (DNS) which always remain vulnerable to cyber attacks. With blockchain DDoS can be avoided by fully decentralizing DNS, distributing the contents to a large number of nodes which makes it impossible for hackers to successfully execute DDoS. Only domain owners will be given the right to edit, this will significantly reduce the risk of data being manipulated by unauthorized parties.
More Security to IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) industry is expected to easily surpass 20 billion connected devices by the end of 2020. Despite so much growth, security remains the main concern in the mass adaption of IoT. The main flaw in IoT ecosystem is that it follows a centralized paradigm, where a central server is used to identify and authenticate individual devices. Hacking this central server by any means (brute force, Telnet attack, etc) will result in an entire system being compromised.
With Blockchain technology peer-to-peer and trustless IoT networks can be created that removes the need for devices to trust each other without any centralized and single point of failure.
A good example where IoT meet blockchain is IOTA project. According to IOTA website its "The first open-source distributed ledger that is being built to power the future of the Internet of Things with feeless micro transactions and data integrity for machines"
All transactions recorded on blockchain are time-stamped and digitally signed. This allows companies to trace any transaction at specific time period as well as locate the corresponding party on the blockchain through their public address. This feature relates to non-repudiation, an extremely important requirement in financial institutes like banks. This feature enhances the system's reliability as every transaction is associated cryptographically to a user.
For every new transaction that is written to blockchain results in updation of ledger state on every node. So to add a forged transaction to the blockchain, hacker has to manipulate digital ledger stored on all nodes. Blockchain consensus algorithm makes sure that nobody can do that, as the cost of adding a forged transaction is very high.
From this discussion it is very clear that blockchain is emerging as a very viable technology when it comes to protecting businesses and other entities from cyber attacks.