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Blockchain for cyber security – Pros & Cons

Cyber security is now a critical topic in this fast-paced digitalized world. The digital presence of a business is not a luxury anymore. This mandatory digital space of business is continuously being violated and exploited by hackers through digital mediums. Therefore cyber security measures are in place to protect businesses and individual data. The ever-evolving nature of technology creates advanced thefts and breaches day by day making it impossible to escape. That is why thriving towards stronger cyber security is inevitable. 

Blockchain emerged as the technology behind Bitcoin and as it grew popular, the attention drawn to the effect of the underlying technology of blockchain was merged and used to mitigate the cyber risks. Now Blockchain has become a role model in cybersecurity after considering its contribution. We’re very hopeful about the potential of the blockchain in the direction of cyber security. Even though it is being discussed vastly about Blockchain as the panacea of cyber security, at this point we still have to consider both the pros and cons.

DLT – Distributed Ledger  Technology used in Blockchain ensures the data protection and privacy of the users by limiting access to it. This is one of the key features that made Blockchain a star in the first place in cyber security. This is a decentralized system unlike the traditional approach of a centralized data protection process which makes it incredibly hard for cyber attackers to access, steal or modify the data and information. Increased cyber resilience is another benefit of Blockchain coming from DLT. This helps the system to run smoothly without any disruption even if one or a small number of participants (nodes) are being attacked. The attacks won’t affect any other nodes in the network. It helps maintain a high standard of transparency as well. 

Blockchain provides strong transactional security by enabling strong authentication and encryption. Blockchain is given the priority to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information. Blockchain is empowered by asymmetric encryption in public-key cryptography to establish cyber security and reduce potential risks. Its components such as smart contracts, wallets, APIs, and digital assets are well tested for access control, business logic validation, data security, and authentication. 

Even though Blockchain-based cyber security has been recognized as one of the best options, there are also some challenges to be considered. Especially since the Blockchain is a maturing approach with a lot of research going on it has to be monitored continuously and relevant upgrades have to be done.

We know that Blockchain provides strong encryption to maintain a high standard of data protection while this may not be the case every time. Weak or insufficient encryption makes Blockchain vulnerable to unsafe intrusions. It is obviously a risk that you may undergo when adopting Blockchain, so it’s your responsibility to take up the challenge of adhering to proper standards. It is very important to follow up with updates and continuous maintenance. 

The power of human wisdom is unimaginable, thus we have reached such heights of technology. People invent new technologies and produce machines but humans aren’t machine-like. So accepting human errors is also a part of this whole process. Coding bugs, key management errors, incorrect cryptographic implementation, and improper verification of digital signatures are some of the examples that could occur. Being more responsible to avoid such insecure operations should be practiced at the ground level when embracing a Blockchain ecosystem. 

A chain split attack is another risk that could occur during smart contract upgrades. This happens when some nodes of the network do not support the new changes during the upgrading process. This condition is vulnerable to many risks relating to Blockchain. In such scenarios, unauthorized parties can block, reverse, or repeat transactions. 

Unlike in the traditional centralized process of data protection, in Blockchain the end user is completely responsible for their assets in private keys so if the users fail to have control over the security it can lead to cryptographic thefts and breaches that are irreversible. 

Data privacy can also be at risk when using public Blockchain as the transactions aren’t allowed to delete while they can be seen and retrieved by anyone. This goes against the regulations such as Europe’s General Data Protection (GDPR), which gives each individual the right to demand their data to be deleted in any database.

Scalability becomes a problem in Blockchain, especially with small and medium businesses. They struggle to accommodate space with the growing number of transactions and as a result, it can slow down the validation process.

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