You may not have heard of blockchain, but you almost certainly will over the coming months. It’s the technology that underpins the use of virtual currencies like Bitcoin, and it has been very successful in resisting cyber attacks. It’s therefore being eyed seriously by many companies looking to improve their cyber security.
How Blockchain Works
Blockchain is a way of recording digital transactions – effectively a sort of electronic ledger. Each transaction in the chain is recorded in a ‘block’ which is like a ledger page, each block in turn is linked to the previous one, creating a permanent record of transactions. This makes it difficult to introduce fraudulent transactions, as the chain of blocks contains details of all previous values belonging to an address, so it’s possible to track what has been paid and who to over time.
The result of this is that blockchain makes for an efficient and secure way of tracking digital transactions. By its nature it’s able to guard against both outside and inside threats. Added to other technologies like application whitelisting software it ensures that only approved applications are allowed to be present on a computer system so it can create a very secure environment.
Systems like whitelisting from https://www.promisec.com/application-whitelisting-software/ work best in managed network environments. It’s less difficult to manage than blacklisting, as there’s no need to constantly maintain and update a list of unwanted applications.
Identifying who uses systems is key to security and here the industry is starting to look to blockchain combined with biometrics to ensure that individuals are authenticated in a secure way. This has much wider potential – for example, the banking industry sees it as a way of being able to offer services to some of the world’s poorest people who are currently denied access to financial services. This also potentially makes movement of people across national borders easier, as identity becomes easier to prove.
Blockchain is also being looked at as a way of verifying documents too. Contracts and title deeds can be authenticated and proof of copyright can be built into things like photographs and creative works.
The potential for blockchain is vast, not just in the banking and finance industries, but for healthcare, transport, energy supply and much more. It’s set to completely revolutionise the way we verify transactions and individual identities