When you hear the term blockchain technology, cybersecurity probably isn’t one of the first things that spring to mind. Instead, people tend to envisage the wild world of cryptocurrency with all of the hype and speculation surrounding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and one of the many thousands of altcoins.
However, blockchain technology has numerous real-world applications, some of which are revolutionizing (and disrupting) major industries all over the world. Cyber security and data protection is one such industry, and it’s safe to say that new innovations in this field couldn’t come at a better time.
As COVID-19 increased the prevalence of remote working, it inadvertently provided more inroads for cyber attacks, and as a result, we are currently facing more cybercrime and data breaches than ever before.
With one new attack every 39 seconds, the cumulative cost of these hacks is estimated to be around $6 trillion by the time 2021 draws to a close, which is certainly too large of a sum to be ignored.
In this interview, we sit down with Yotam Dar, CEO of Blackcomb, a fintech and blockchain expert, to discuss the current state of the cybersecurity sector and how blockchain technology might help defend us from future cyberattacks.
What has caused the latest uptrend in cyberattacks and online hacking activity?
Not only has cybercrime become incredibly sophisticated in recent years, but there are now more people online than ever before. Millions of individuals are currently working from home, communicating online, and relying on technology and digital services to fulfill many of their daily needs.
When you combine this with the uncertainty and disruption of a global pandemic, you have the makings of a perfect storm for cybercrime to explode.
As such, the threats to individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments have never been greater, which is why we must take steps to educate, inform, and protect ourselves where possible. However, it’s worth noting that cybercrime was growing at an exponential rate even before the pandemic.
As a result, regardless of how the pandemic is resolved, cybersecurity must become a larger topic of discussion and be addressed with more seriousness.
Who is most at risk when it comes to cyberattacks?
Every individual who accesses the internet must remain vigilant at all times because if the truth be told, everybody is a potential target. To protect yourself, you should always be running a VPN while browsing the web, especially when connecting to public WiFi hotspots such as coffee shops or co-working spaces.
However, the risk of cyberattacks against businesses is usually much more severe. They tend to hold vast stores of sensitive data and can be forced into paying large sums of money due to ransomware attacks.
Unfortunately, small to medium-sized businesses are usually prime candidates for cyber attacks as they simply don’t have the resources to put into cybersecurity, making them an easy target.
How can blockchain contribute to facilitating a secure digital infrastructure?
In the cybersecurity industry, blockchain currently offers a wide range of applications, the majority of which are proving to be incredibly beneficial.
For those who are only familiar with the term blockchain via the context of cryptocurrencies, it is a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) that focuses on building trust in an untrustworthy ecosystem, making it a potentially powerful cybersecurity technology.
Although the ledger system is decentralized, the information is transparently accessible to members of the specific blockchain in question. Any transactional data that is encrypted on the blockchain can be recorded, passed along, and viewed by all members (or nodes).
Thus, blockchain builds trust while also ensuring a high level of data integrity. In essence, blockchain’s distributed structure prevents any “hackable” entrance or point of failure from exposing entire datasets.
Furthermore, blockchain’s public record-keeping mechanism provides each node with real-time visibility into any data alteration, revealing potential cybercrime efforts extremely efficiently.
Lastly, what future use cases do you predict for blockchain in the cybersecurity industry?
If utilized effectively, I am optimistic that blockchain will be adopted in even more industries in the future as its integrity assurance continues to be used to develop cybersecurity solutions for a variety of other technologies.
Many of the largest social media companies, for example, are expected to begin using blockchain technology to secure user data as a better alternative to the end-to-end encryption they presently use.
Furthermore, as smart homes become more popular, I expect blockchain to play a significant role in IoT security, especially since many of these IoT devices have relatively poor security features.
At the moment, hackers are finding smart home systems to be easy entry points. This means installing them in your home without necessary precautions could be putting all of the data on your home network at risk if they manage to get past the security.
To address this, blockchain can also be used to protect such large networks or devices by decentralizing their administration. This technique involves equipping each gadget with the ability to make security judgments on its own.
Thus, through recognizing and acting on questionable commands from unknown networks without relying on a central admin or authority, the IoT devices become more secure. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
From DNS and DDoS attack mitigation to data transmission security and storage decentralization, blockchain offers a wide range of possible applications. Now it’s just a matter of further developing these tools, and bringing them to the mainstream.