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Utilizing the blockchain to forestall knowledge breaches

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Knowledge breaches have, sadly, develop into an all-too-common actuality. The Varonis 2021 Knowledge Danger Report signifies that the majority companies have poor cybersecurity practices and unprotected knowledge, making them susceptible to cyberattacks and knowledge loss.

With a single knowledge breach costing an organization a median of $3.86 million and eroding a model’s repute and its customers’ belief, mitigating the dangers is not a luxurious. Nonetheless, as cyberattacks get extra pervasive and complex, merely patching up conventional cybersecurity measures will not be sufficient to fend off future knowledge breaches.

As a substitute, it’s crucial to begin in search of extra superior safety options. So far as revolutionary options go, stopping knowledge breaches by using the blockchain could also be our greatest hope.

Blockchain know-how 101

Blockchain know-how, additionally known as distributed ledger know-how (DLT), is the fruits of many years of analysis and development in cryptography and cybersecurity. The time period “blockchain” was first popularized due to cryptocurrency, because it’s the know-how behind record-keeping within the Bitcoin community. 


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This know-how makes it extraordinarily troublesome to alter or hack a system, because it permits for the info to be recorded and distributed however not copied. Because it gives a brand-new strategy to storing knowledge securely, it may be a promising resolution for knowledge breaches in any setting with high-security necessities.

Constructed on the concept of P2P networks, a blockchain is a public, digital ledger of saved knowledge shared throughout a complete community of pc techniques. Every block holds a number of transactions, and every time a brand new transaction occurs, a file of that transaction will get added to each community participant’s ledger.

Its sturdy encryption and decentralized and immutable nature may very well be the reply to stopping knowledge breaches.

Enhancing knowledge safety by way of encryption

World Huge Internet inventor Tim Berners-Lee has stated just lately that “we’ve misplaced management of our private knowledge.” Corporations retailer monumental quantities of personally identifiable info (PII), together with usernames, passwords, cost particulars, and even social safety numbers, because the Domino’s knowledge leak in India (amongst others) has made clear.

Whereas this knowledge is sort of at all times encrypted, it’s by no means as safe as it will be in a blockchain. By making use of the very best facets of cryptography, blockchain can lastly put an finish to knowledge breaches.

How can a shared ledger be safer than customary encryption strategies?

To safe saved knowledge, blockchain employs two various kinds of cryptographic algorithms: hash features and asymmetric-key algorithms. This manner, the info can solely be shared with the member’s consent, and so they can even specify how the recipient of their knowledge can use the info and the window of time through which the recipient is allowed to take action.

Hash features

When the primary transaction of a series happens, the blockchain’s code offers it a singular hash worth. As extra transactions happen, their hash values are then hashed and encoded right into a Merkle tree, thereby making a block. Each block will get a singular hash with the hash of the earlier block’s header and timestamp encoded.

This creates a hyperlink between the 2 blocks, which, in flip, turns into the primary hyperlink within the chain. Since this hyperlink is created utilizing distinctive info from every block, the 2 are immutably certain.

Uneven encryption

Uneven encryption, also referred to as public-key cryptography, encrypts plain textual content utilizing two keys: a personal key that’s usually produced by way of a random quantity algorithm, and a public one. The general public secret is accessible freely and could be transferred over unsecured channels.

Alternatively, the non-public secret is stored a secret in order that solely the consumer can understand it. With out it, it’s nearly unattainable to entry the info. It features as a digital signature, like real-world signatures.

This manner, blockchain offers particular person customers the power to handle their very own knowledge and specify with whom to share it over cryptographically encoded networks. 


A main purpose for the rise in knowledge breaches is over-reliance on centralized servers. As soon as customers and app customers enter their private knowledge, it’s immediately written into the corporate’s database, and the consumer doesn’t get a lot say in what occurs to it afterward.

Even when customers try to restrict the info the corporate can share with third events, there can be loopholes to use. Because the Fb–Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal confirmed, the outcomes of such centralization could be catastrophic. Moreover, even assuming goodwill, the corporate’s servers may nonetheless get hacked by cybercriminals.

In distinction, blockchains are decentralized, immutable data of knowledge. This decentralization eliminates the necessity for one trusted, centralized authority to confirm knowledge integrity. As a substitute, it permits customers to share knowledge in a trustless setting. Every member has entry to their very own knowledge, a system referred to as zero-knowledge storage.

This additionally makes the community much less prone to fall sufferer to hackers. Except they convey down the entire community concurrently, the undamaged nodes will rapidly detect the intrusion.

Since decentralization reduces factors of weak point, blockchains even have a a lot decrease likelihood of succumbing to an IP-based DDoS assault than centralized techniques utilizing consumer/server architectures.


Along with being decentralized, blockchains are additionally designed to be immutable, which will increase knowledge integrity. The blockchains’ immutability makes all the info saved therein nearly unattainable to change.

As a result of each particular person within the community has entry to a duplicate of the distributed ledger, any corruption that happens in a member’s ledger will mechanically trigger it to be rejected by the remainder of the community members. Subsequently, any alteration or change within the block knowledge will result in inconsistency and break the blockchain, rendering it invalid.

The underside line

Despite the fact that blockchain know-how has been round since 2009, it has a lot untapped potential within the area of cybersecurity, particularly with regards to stopping knowledge breaches.

The highest-notch cryptography employed by blockchain protocols ensures the security of all knowledge saved within the ledger, making it a promising resolution.

Since nodes working the blockchain should at all times confirm any transaction’s validity earlier than it’s executed, cybercriminals are nearly assured to be stopped of their tracks earlier than they achieve entry to any non-public knowledge.

Jenelle Fulton-Brown is a safety architect and web privateness advocate primarily based in Toronto, Canada serving to Fortune 500 corporations construct future-proof inside techniques.


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