Cybersecurity experts have figured that Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, is a great way to combat cyber-attacks. Blockchain is a database where all Bitcoin transactions are recorded and stored. The difference between regular databases and Blockchain is that block chains are not centralized, rather, updated and maintained by a network of users. Think about a GoogleDrive document or spreadsheet being shared, updated and maintained by multiple users at the same time — that’s essentially how Blockchain works.
One of the important aspects of block chain technology is the use of a distributed database. In a distributed database, there is no central control of network resources. Instead of using the traditional client/server network, in which all data is shared in one place and everyone updates one master document or ledger, the block chain is a giant peer-to-peer network. Data is divided between multiple computers over an interconnected network sharing information constant updates. What’s appealing about Blockchain in regards to cybersecurity is that without a centralized network, like a server, there is no one place to hack the data.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator(s) of Bitcoin, realized that in order for Bitcoin to work as currency it had to be incapable of being spent twice by the same person. In order for this to work, Bitcoin needed a decentralized system without a third party — such as banks — to build an unconventional payment system.
Blockchain technology makes digital transactions and compiles and registers them batches called blocks. These transactions are verified and added to a public ledger at the end of the chain of the blocks that came before it and allows every user to verify every transaction has taken place at a specific time.
Internationally, block chain technology could improve the way we share data. Because of added transparency and public accessibility, block chains can be used for polling data and especially elections. File storage could also benefit from a decentralized network that protects its data from hackers. And the sale of intellectual properties and creative works can operate more efficiently by eliminating the risk of duplication.
But one of the primary advantages blockchain has over the traditional modes of operation is the same advantage that, theoretically, all new technologies have: the possibility of human error is mitigated or eliminated altogether. The weakest link in all security is the human factor, and a good reason for block chain to be adopted by the ever-expanding information security industry. That hasn’t escaped Vance Brown, CEO of the National Cybersecurity Center here in Colorado Springs, who says block chain technology can make it difficult and expensive to launch a cyber attack.
Blockchain technology will rapidly change the way we manage our data in the near future. We’ll be better equipped to protect our identities online, and companies and governments will be in a better position to protect their most valuable data. Cybersecurity professionals will be able to use block chains as a very powerful tool against the threats of cyber espionage. It has already proved to be resilient by providing bitcoin a backbone in which to operate on. This robustness and malleability will prove to be very helpful in the field of cybersecurity.
Thomas Russell is a high school information technology teacher and retired Army Signal Corps soldier. He is the founder of SEMtech (Student Engagement and Mentoring in Technology) and an Advisory Board Member of Educating Children of Color. His hobbies include writing, photography and hiking. Contact Thomas via Russell’s Room on Facebook, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his photography at thomasholtrussell.zenfolio.com.
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