How Blockchain Can be Used in Cybersecurity

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Recent years have seen the inexorable rise of cybercrime, and the coronavirus pandemic seems only to have accelerated this. At any time, enterprises and governments could be subject to attacks from cybercrime gangs, which are finding more sophisticated and damaging techniques with every passing year. But there is still hope for the fight against cybercrime, and cybersecurity specialists have a few secret weapons to be used against the worst of attacks. 

One of these is the relatively new technology known as blockchain. 

It is easy for the security of a business to be overlooked in times of pressure. This is why getting extra help from a reliable and experienced IT support company like Mustard IT is always a sensible measure.     

What is blockchain?

Blockchain has only been around for just over a decade, but in that time, it has changed the world immeasurably. 

One of its main uses is in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, but there are numerous other ways in which the technology can be used. It consists of a chain of blocks that are securely linked together through cryptography in a decentralised network. All members of the network are responsible for verifying the data on the blockchain and it cannot be altered or removed. This means that anything stored on the blockchain is completely secure, transparent and immutable.  

Use cases of blockchain in IT security

There are various ways in which blockchain technology can be used to improve IT systems in terms of efficiency and scalability, and secure them against attacks. 

The most notable among these include the following.

Decentralized storage

We live in a world where data has become the most valuable commodity, which organisations of every kind need to spend money and resources on trying to protect. But in many cases, the biggest problem is that data is structured in a centralised storage system that makes it more vulnerable to attacks. With data stored in a single location, it is easier for hackers to cause more damage. However, things are beginning to change, and decentralised, blockchain-based storage solutions are becoming more common. 

Apollo Currency developed the Apollo data cloud, through which users can store data on the blockchain and enable access for third parties, which can be revoked at any time. This system is decentralised through the nature of blockchain, so hackers will not find a single point of entry to gain access to the entire data system.  

Secure private messaging

All over the world, there is a greater need for instant messaging services that offer a better user experience and the ability to easily send different types of media. But this can pose security challenges within organisations, so it is imperative that strict security standards are maintained. It is common for messaging services to use end-to-end encryption, but blockchain is able to better secure information in messages. 

Many messaging systems do not have the unified API frameworks and standard security protocols that blockchain can bring to message communications. Blockchain has the potential to secure all data exchanges, and there are many new secure messaging ecosystems that are backed by blockchain. These include BlockMesh, ONEm Communications and Mainframe.  

IoT security

The Internet of Things (IoT) includes any internet-connected devices that you may have in your home, car, or office. There are always new tools that require access to the internet and offer greater convenience or time saving, but each of these also represents another security risk. One way of making these completely secure is by applying blockchain technology to protect against hackers that are always looking to find a way into your network. 

It is possible to train individual devices to make their own security decisions without the need for central control. They are able to notice any suspicious activity and lockdown nodes by consensus decision. Blockchain can also secure data passing between devices, and offer secure data transmissions in real-time, and instant communication around the world.    

Secure DNS

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can be extremely damaging. They involve cybercriminals using different techniques to send a high number of junk requests to a website to the point that it is overwhelmed and crashes, making it unavailable. DDoS attacks can also redirect users to unsavoury websites. If a DDoS attack is launched at the same time as a DNS attack, then websites can be out of action for longer periods of time. Victims of this kind of attack have included Twitter and Spotify, and the last year has seen a notable increase in the frequency of attacks. 

A system backed by blockchain offers a practical solution for which domain information can be safely stored and secure smart contracts used to power the connection. A system that is decentralised will be more challenging for hackers looking for single points of weakness. 

Secure downloads

Every organisation is probably aware of the potential damage that malicious software can cause when downloaded in error. Unfortunately, it is likely that every employee is exposed to phishing emails on a regular basis, and it only takes one click for malware to be downloaded. However, this doesn’t need to be the case, as blockchain is able to prevent the download of harmful software.

In ordinary cases in which MD5 hashes are used to identify software from the vendor websites, the hashes may have already been compromised. But with blockchain – because the hashes are immutable – they cannot be changed, so verification is much more efficient. This creates a system that is significantly more secure and advantageous for the user as well as the vendor. 

Blockchain: a new level of IT security

There are many ways in which blockchain can be used to provide security in a range of scenarios and industries. With its three key characteristics of transparency, immutability, and decentralisation, blockchain is a new technology that provides a whole new level of security. Now, organisations in various industries are beginning to implement solutions that will give them a competitive edge and the upper hand in terms of security. If you haven’t considered what blockchain can do for your business, then maybe you should!