How Blockchain Is Making Cybersecurity Faster and Cheaper

November 9, 2017

5:00 pm

Cybersecurity has become a major concern for organizations today. According to Cisco’s annual report on cybersecurity for 2017, 20 percent of organizations surveyed had significant breaches within the past year that resulted in opportunity and revenue losses. Businesses have become prime targets due to the customer and payment information that they collect from transactions.

Threats are also becoming more widespread and complex. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks aren’t just used to disrupt services but to mask other attacks such as data breaches and malware implantation. The rise in adoption of cloud services also added more complexity to infrastructure which increases vulnerabilities to attacks. Social engineering attacks such as phishing and email spam continue to exploit human vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity companies haven’t been remiss in coping with these evolving threats. Gartner also estimates that there will be a 7 percent growth in security spending year-on-year for 2017. Despite this, many companies appear to be underspending and committing meager resources to protect themselves from attacks. This can be understandable to an extent. Security services, especially top tier ones, aren’t exactly cheap. Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) often have to get by using a patchwork of solutions that may still have vulnerabilities.

Blockchain ventures seek to change this. Similar to developments in financial technology, blockchain has the potential to disrupt cybersecurity with new approaches to protection and costs. New solutions are emerging which leverage blockchain’s features for cybersecurity use.

Here are four ways blockchain is making cyber protection cheaper and safer.

Attack Mitigation

DDoS continues to be a major concern for businesses today particularly those that rely on uptime such as content services and ecommerce. Such attacks can be easily launched by malicious actors who rent botnets to carry out DDoS on any target. Last year, a record-breaking DDoS attack on DNS service Dyn caused a major outage that affected other services like Netflix, Twitter, and CNN. Instead of relying on a centralized authority, records such as DNS information can be fully decentralized and stored securely over the blockchain.

Using blockchain’s distributed network, services like Gladius.io allows users’ spare bandwidth and computing resources to be pooled together and used for cybersecurity services such as content delivery networks and DDoS mitigation. Among the reasons why security services command a price premium is the amount of computing resources they need to maintain in order to guarantee protection and uptime. A decentralized approach could make more resources available at a lower cost.

This way, an attack on even several computers would not disrupt services.

Immutability of Records

Attackers have been known to not only steal but also tamper with financial, government, and health records to commit fraud and disrupt operations. It is in this regard that blockchain adoption has achieved significant value since the technology offers ways to provide immutable record keeping. Data breaches that try to alter or insert fraudulent data into systems would be difficult to pull off successfully since blockchain is designed to be transparent. Any attempt to retroactively alter records can be easily flagged by the system.

Identity and Authentication

The recent Equifax data breach shows the danger of putting all critical identity information under one centralized authority. The breach is now considered among the most serious breaches as attackers have gotten hold of names, addresses, and even social security numbers all of which can be used to commit identity fraud. There may be little that could be done to remedy the actual breach since the stolen information is now out in the open. However, organizations could be proactive in improving their identity storage and verification measures. Services such as Civic uses blockchain to enable businesses and users means to securely store and verify identity information. Information is encrypted to prevent identifiable information to be access and leaked.

Security Marketplaces

These new blockchain services also offer opportunities for computing resources and services to be traded on a peer to peer level. The aforementioned Gladius.io offers such a platform where users can rent out their bandwidth to support DDoS mitigation services. Rather than be constrained to what packages and service tiers companies offer, blockchain marketplaces may be able to match users to service levels that fit what they exactly need. In addition, since pricing and payments could be verifiable on the blockchain, such marketplaces could also encourage fair and competitive pricing unlike with centralized services where it’s the competition between similar organizations that dictate pricing.

Cheaper and Safer

Blockchain is enabling new cybersecurity players to leverage decentralization in order to combat new and evolving cybersecurity threats. Blockchain ventures also save on infrastructure costs thanks to the peer-to-peer nature of the technology. This allows services to be priced cheaper and more competitively. A decentralized marketplace also opens up the market for security solutions to create fair competition among players. Cheaper and more accessible services solves the cost issue for most organizations. This creates a lower barrier to cyber protection and allows more businesses to adopt security solutions that fit their requirements and budgets.

Read more about blockchain at TechCo

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A New York native, currently dwelling in Berlin. Always been a Luddite, but now embracing the tech world and trying to make a name for myself as a tech journalist.

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