Blockchain is a non-editable record of data managed by a cluster of computers. The system is not owned by anyone and it acts like a democracy of data. The technology is all about ‘blocks’ of data ‘chained’ in a public database. It’s like an encrypted digital ledger that is shared among a closed network. Blocks can usually store upto 1MB of data. So if you have more transactional information, you have to store it in different blocks and chain them together. Once a block is added to the Blockchain, it turns public for anyone to view. Blockchain offers complete transparency of the transaction but at the same time ensures privacy too. This is why experts call it the future of cybersecurity. Still, critics question the scalability and sustainability of the technology. So is the technology really viable? Let’s discuss!
Why is Blockchain transparent?
You can connect your computer to the Blockchain network and receive updates whenever a new block is added. Since every piece of information is spreading across a network of computers, it is very difficult to manipulate the data. This is because, the hacker will have to hack into the thousands (sometimes millions) of computers in the network and manipulate every copy of the Blockchain. Not that easy!
Is your information kept private?
The blocks contain more of transactional data recorded with a unique user ID called the ‘digital signature’. All your transactions will be stored under this digital signature and not your name. So even if your blocks are on a public database one cannot search for your transactions that easily. For example, Instead of “Roger sent 1 BTC” , your transaction will be recorded like this:
“1MF1bshFLkBzz9vpFYEmvwT2TbjCt7NoJ sent 1 BTC”.
This is how Blockchain ensures privacy and transparency at the same time. Blocks are differentiated from the other blocks using a code called hashes. Each block has a unique hash. The position of a block in the chain is called ‘height’.
Why is Blockchain Immutable?
Also, you can’t stealthily alter a block. If you edit a block, it’s hashcode changes as well. Since blocks are stored sequentially, the changes in one block would affect the hash of the other and this would go on like a chain reaction. So every tiny change you make would be apparent and it is almost impossible to hack these systems. So the bottom line is this “once you add a block to the chain, it is difficult to edit it and impossible to delete it.
So, where is the Blockchain server?
Nowhere! Blockchain is stored in a cluster of computers using peer to peer networking. Having a single server for all the nodes in the network would slow down the process of downloading and uploading. Also, when there is a server failure, it would affect all the nodes in the network. But this is not the case in peer to peer networking. By eliminating the single server system, even if one computer fails, there is always another one to download data from. Peer to peer networking also have the advantage of not being prone to censorship.
What Blockchain means to Cybersecurity?
Apparently, Blockchain is a very viable technology when it comes to protecting data. Here’s a list of top 4 use-cases:
In the data age, there’s nothing as harmful as storing all your data in one place. By decentralising data storage, Blockchain revokes hackers from having a single point entry. Another advantage of blockchain data storage is that even if you give access to third parties, you can revoke the cryptographic access key anytime.
2. IoT security
IoT is becoming ubiquitous in enterprises and every system is networked. If one trivial device like a smart doorbell or a thermostat is hacked, it becomes a doorway to hack the other devices. This is where Blockchain comes in to save the day. With blockchain, devices don’t need to rely on a centralised control system. This way devices can make their own decisions and block necessary data if any suspicious behaviour is detected. Blockchain would also render a safer DNS and private messaging systems.
3. Secure authentication
ID management is one of the most sensitive systems in an enterprise. Passwordsense considering the advancement of hacking systems today. But blockchain systems are reliable because they use biometric data and private keys. According to Facebook, accounts are hacked 600,000 times a day.
4. Automated Updates
Hackers inject malware into the systems in the form of updates. This becomes worse in the case of automated systems where there is no human entity to verify the authenticity of the updates. But blockchain based systems recognise potentially harmful components and block them.
Wrapping it up,
The scope of Blockchain is not just limited to Cybersecurity. The technology is making significant strides in other industries as well. Since it is very secure and transparent, the transactions can be totally done between two parties without needing a middle man. This means you can hire a cab without Uber and book a stay without Airbnb. Cutting out the third party applies to financial institutions too. Blockchain will replace all the operations carried out by a bank. So in the future, bankers would just be mere advisers and not the gatekeepers of your money. Also, Stockbrokers will not be able to earn through commissions. It’s truly going to bring revolutionary changes in the next few years.