Over the recent years, you've consistently encountered the term 'blockchain technology,' typically in the context of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. In reality, you might be pondering, "what exactly is blockchain technology?" It appears as though blockchain is a common phrase but in a theoretical sense, it lacks a readily comprehensible definition for the average person. It's of utmost importance to elucidate "what is blockchain technology," encompassing the technology employed, its operational mechanics, and how it’s a game changer for cybersecurity.
As per IBM, blockchain is defined as "a collective, immutable ledger that simplifies the task of documenting transactions and overseeing assets within a corporate network."
It functions as a system for securely, openly, and economically tracking anything with value.
The term "blockchain" originates from the reality that each transaction is documented as a "block" of data. A block may document several data categories, such as quantity, cost, or position.
As the asset progresses from owner to owner, these blocks connect to form a chain. The chain encompasses the particulars of each transaction, including their timing and sequence.
A blockchain lacks a solitary point of failure. Each chain is unalterable, preventing any participant from disrupting a link to introduce a block. Modifying one of these cryptographic chains is nearly inconceivable because a mutually accepted consensus mechanism verifies the correctness of each transaction within the chain.
Cybersecurity expenditures, including those in Cyber Security Chicago, have experienced an exponential surge over the past decade, showing no signs of deceleration. As per an industry report, organizations across the globe intend to allocate over $1 trillion for safeguarding themselves against online threats between 2017 and 2021.
Despite this astounding financial commitment, malevolent hackers continue to exploit both well-known and undisclosed vulnerabilities, as well as intercept device, application, and network communications. CB Insights calculated that approximately 6 billion confidential files were pilfered during the period spanning 2017 to 2018. Other industry studies reveal a growth in both the quantity and cost of cyberattacks.
These intricate offensives frequently outsmart conventional security techniques, encompassing authentication, key management, cryptography, and privacy issues. With a substantial portion of the workforce now operating from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, vulnerabilities are manifesting in novel ways. Consequently, instead of developing more potent tools, numerous enterprises are reevaluating the systems that initially gave rise to these vulnerabilities.
When blockchain rose to prominence as the foundation for Bitcoin just around 10 years ago, it became largely interchangeable with cryptocurrency in the public vernacular. Nevertheless, other blockchain implementations, like Ethereum, have emerged as foundations for an array of functions that go beyond cryptocurrencies. These encompass smart contracts, non-interchangeable tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance, and disseminated software, among various others.
The decentralized, consensus-driven, trustless nature of blockchain inherently renders it resistant to attacks. For those blockchain solutions employing proof of work validation methods (such as bitcoin), malevolent actors must seize control of a majority of nodes to compromise ledger transactions—something that is intentionally computationally demanding. This computational expense can be applied to various other security operations, thereby diminishing the necessity for a trusted central authority.
Numerous Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks exploit internet domain name servers (DNS)—which translate IP addresses into user-friendly website names. Through shifting DNS onto the blockchain, assets can be disseminated among numerous nodes, making it implausible for assailants to tamper with the database.
Blockchain presents an alternative route to enhanced security, a path less frequented and far less welcoming to cybercriminals. This method diminishes susceptibilities, delivers robust encryption, and verifies data ownership and integrity more efficiently. It may even obviate the necessity for certain passwords, often labeled as the weakest link in cybersecurity.
Blockchain employs a decentralized distributed ledger system instead of relying on a solitary trusted central authority. Via distributed ledger technology (DLT), transactions are recorded across each node in the network, presenting substantial impediments to cybercriminals seeking to observe, steal, or tamper with data. It is crafted to instill trust among participants in domains where trust is often elusive.
The collaborative consensus algorithm of blockchains allows for continuous monitoring of the ledger to detect unusual or malicious activity.
Blockchain networks proficiently utilize encryption and digital signatures, employing a public key infrastructure for:
● Validating alterations in configurations
● Authenticating devices
● Safeguarding communications
An infrastructure featuring asymmetric cryptographic keys and digital signatures frequently constitutes the bedrock of blockchain technology, ensuring the validation of data ownership and data integrity. In certain instances, these components negate the necessity for passwords, a common avenue through which cybercriminals illicitly gain access to accounts and networks.
A blockchain ledger remains invulnerable to alterations. If an entry contains an error, it can solely be rectified by initiating another transaction, resulting in the preservation of both transactions.
With an expanding array of applications across various sectors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices often fall prey to cybercriminals due to their inherent vulnerabilities. Blockchain offers enhanced protection for users of IoT devices.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DNS) attack seeks to inundate a server with requests, typically targeting a focal point, such as an IP address or a limited group of IP addresses.
Nonetheless, a blockchain-based domain name system (DNS) can eliminate that singular focal point, effectively neutralizing this cyber threat.
While blockchain's transparency stands as a primary advantage, with all participants able to view immutable transactions, a permissioned blockchain network permits solely trusted networks to observe or engage in transactions. This can be accomplished with minimal governance.
Moreover, blockchain lacks the conventional targets sought by cybercriminals, rendering it more challenging for them to gain unauthorized access through privacy rule exploitation.
Smart contracts, which consist of predefined rules stored on the blockchain, trigger transactions upon the fulfillment of specified conditions. This automated process enhances payment convenience. Blockchain remains secure due to rigorous testing of its components for authentication, data security, access control, and validation of business logic.
Using the Blockchain framework's infrastructure, it is very easy to prevent data thefts and cyber security attacks in IoT devices and networks. Additionally, Blockchain can be used to secure IoT systems that are frequently prone to data breach. Using this framework we can protect cloud computing/ storage systems which are also vulnerable to malicious attacks.