6 use cases for blockchain in security

Blockchain has the potential to improve encryption and authentication, and that could be good news for IoT security and DDoS protection.

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Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed electronic ledger built on the model of offering absolute security and trust. Using cryptography, transactions are recorded chronologically and publicly, each one time-stamped and linked to the previous one. Critically, these digital ‘blocks’ can only be updated through the consensus of all participants, with data interception, modification and deletion near impossible.

As a result, since hitting Gartner’s fabled "peak of the hype cycle" in 2016, Blockchain has become something of a priority for industry leaders, especially in financial services, energy and manufacturing. Authenticating Bitcoin payments has perhaps become the most cited use case, but this technology can extend to applications like content delivery networks and smart grid systems too.

How does blockchain apply to cyber security?

Blockchain has the potential to improve everything from improving data integrity and digital identities to enabling safer IoT devices to prevent DDoS attacks. Indeed, blockchain might play across the ‘CIA triad’ of confidentiality, integrity and availability, offering improved resilience, encryption, auditing and transparency.

“Blockchain plugs the gaps that we have left with our poor implementation of security and lack of trustworthiness,” said Bill Buchanan, an acclaimed computer scientist and professor at the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. “In 2018, we must encrypt by default. At the current time, you cannot verify that no one has read an email sent to you, and that it hasn’t been modified. We often can’t even verify the sender.”  

“With blockchain methods, we can properly verify and sign our transactions,” says Buchanan. “While there is some hype around cryptocurrencies, the implementation of blockchain methods will actually build more trustworthy infrastructure for our digital services. The greatest application will be the transformation of our public sector, and create a more citizen-focused infrastructure. This will allow citizens to own their own identities, and then for each transaction to be verified. We could enact elements of our public services, such as the payment of benefits, using smart contracts, and based on signed assertions.”

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