The constant threat of cyber attacks on corporations, government databases, and retail systems has resulted in billions of dollars being invested in cybersecurity. Most cybersecurity systems are retroactive—cyberattacks can go unnoticed for long periods and when they are discovered, the reaction is to stop what was already done. Distributed ledger technology, also called blockchain, is promising a resilient record platform that removes single points of failure from the equation.
Distributed ledgers create a new way to store information and perform functions. Years of cryptography and security research in the blockchain domain has caused a new concept protecting against cyber attacks. This makes the distributed ledger technology appealing to many types of organizations because of its immutable quality. Simply put: data cannot be manipulated or fraudulent within the blockchain.
Blockchains are decentralized structures where data is stored within individual blocks owned by a certain individual or organization. These blocks are tied to other blocks to make the chain. This means all the data pertaining to a blockchain is not stored centrally, so thieves cannot gain access to all the data at once. Like they can for centrally stored organizational data.
Passwords rule the world of authentication and trying to encrypt them and make them complicated enough. Then hackers can’t easily gain access to password-protected data has been an ongoing fight. The decentralized architecture of distributed ledgers provides specific SSL certificated instead of passwords. The certificate data is built on the immutable blockchain, so it is nearly impossible for the creation of fake certificates.
Blockchains are invariably traceable when they are put together. Every transaction is timestamped and signed digitally. This allows users to easily locate the transaction block’s owner through the address used publicly. A log of the history of the blockchain is built as each new block written on the ledger transforms the chain leaving traceable, visible data in which companies can immediately see if there is tampering.
Digital ledgers are being called the most disruptive tech in decades. Blockchains have the potential to save money, revolutionize record-keeping, provide a more secure data environment, and eliminate hiccups in collaboration. This is the future of blockchains. Right now, massive amounts of money have been invested into blockchain initiatives to make it more commercially available. Eventually, it could become the low-cost, efficient, safe information share its proponents are declaring it to be.
The change in approach to cybersecurity, and to the foundation upon which systems will be built, promises to be a new technology to watch. If distributed ledger technology can beat cyber attacks and keep data from breaches, it won’t be long before corporations begin investing in training and private blockchain creation so they can focus on building trust with customers who are now skeptical of the safety of their data.