How Blockchain Technology Enhances Modern Cybersecurity Systems

Feb 8, 2022 | by Nadia Hammond, guest contributor

Cyberattacks have been on the rise worldwide since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2021 survey of IT professionals, the largest increase in attacks and attack attempts was seen in the area of data exfiltration and leakage, followed closely by phishing emails. Aside from the large-scale movement of companies and individuals to go digital, rapid innovations in technology have also made it easier to execute cyberattacks. For instance, 5G networks now deliver 10 times faster download speeds, increasing the chances of larger cyberattacks. Meanwhile, the newer IoT technologies have patchy security features that make them vulnerable to cybercriminals. This is why many industries are turning to blockchain to improve cybersecurity. 

This shift has even been seen at an educational level with universities issuing degrees through blockchain due to the cybersecurity benefits. April Price, ECPI University’s director of academic services explains that “It’s really secure. Our credentials cannot be recreated, replicated or accessed by others.” It is at universities that modern cybersecurity practices are also being developed. Graduates of these courses are taught the foundations in offensive and defensive cybersecurity, of which blockchain is now becoming a key feature. While blockchain started as the technology behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, its features such as fully-automated data storage and transparency make it an essential technology for cybersecurity as well. Below are some of its use cases: 

Decentralized solutions 

In the age of digital disruption, companies should be able to continue their business as usual online to stay relevant to customers. The process of digital transformation has three steps — translating what you do from analog to digital, using data and new technology developments to improve the business, and creating new business models to suit the situation. However, transferring to the digital sphere likely means you’re using centralized cloud storage, or have an intact DNS. These centralized solutions make it easier for hackers to infiltrate the system since they need to exploit only one weak point. 

Due to the nature of blockchain technology, it removes the vulnerable single points that can be used by cybercriminals. Blockchain protects data by offering a decentralized form of data storage, making it impossible for hackers to infiltrate data storage systems. It also decentralizes DNS entries so hackers can’t exploit the connection between the IP address and website name. 

IoT (Internet of Things) security 

IoT devices are certainly making our world more convenient and connected. Unfortunately, because they’re still a relatively new technology, they tend to have patchy security features that make them vulnerable to cyberattacks. For one, they use edge devices, which serve as network entry or exit points. They’re also responsible for the transmission, processing, and storing of data that passes between networks. When talking about IoT, edge devices include sensors, actuators, and other endpoints, which hackers can exploit to access overall systems. 

Blockchain can prevent this by securing systems and devices and decentralizing the administration. This makes edge devices more secure since it detects suspicious commands from unknown networks. Blockchain makes it extremely more difficult for cybercriminals to execute attacks. 

Safer software downloads 

Following the basic dos and don’ts of safe download and installation of software from the internet is a must. A few of these pointers include avoiding unsolicited links, using curated software links and avoiding installers and download managers. However, spotting red flags – such as convincing download ads that lead you to benign sites or malware-ridden pages – may be tricky. This is why it’s better to take extra precautions, such as scanning the file for malware, before downloading it and verifying the file’s integrity. 

In addition to these, the use of blockchain can also ensure software integrity. It can be used to verify firmware updates, installers, and patches to prevent malware from entering computers. This is possible since hashes are permanently recorded on the blockchain, making the technology more efficient and dependable in ensuring software integrity.