Blockchain, IoT, & Critical Infrastructure Security

Written by jamie

August 4, 2020

Cyber-security is a top concern for many organisations, especially those handling and processing sensitive data. Data remains a primary target for attackers. Microsoft predicts that by 2020, data volumes will be 50 times what they are today. It is estimated that approximately 111 billion new software codes are produced every year which translates to billions of vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit.

Gartner’s research revealed that worldwide information security is expected to hit US$93 billion in 2018. According to Cisco’s 2017 annual report on cyber-security, 20% of the organisations surveyed had had significant data breaches within a 12-month period. This backs research carried out by entities such as Cybersecurity Ventures which predict that global cybersecurity spending will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over a period of five years and that cybercrime damages will rise in cost from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion in 2021. 

Ed Powers, a Cyber Risk Lead at Deloitte’s U.S. has been on record stating that “while still nascent, there is promising innovation in blockchain towards helping enterprises tackle immutable Cyber Risk challenges such as digital identities and maintaining data integrity.” 

Blockchain-powered Cybersecurity  

Blockchains could potentially help improve cyber defence by securing and preventing fraudulent activities through consensus mechanisms, and detecting data tampering based on the key strengths of the technology which include immutability, transparency, auditability, data encryption & operational resilience due to distributed network systems having no single point of failure. Consensus-based control distributes the responsibility of security across nodes within a blockchain network, making it impossible for hackers to infiltrate such a network. Decentralisation makes cybersecurity solutions highly scalable by addressing one of the biggest concerns of implementing cybersecurity on an expanding network such as in the case of connected devices.

Blockchain technology alongside IoT promises to improve the security of connected devices by cryptographically securing and storing communication among IoT devices in tamper-proof logs. A blockchain-based cybersecurity platform can secure connected devices using digital signatures to identify and authenticate them, adding them as authorized participants in the blockchain network and ring-fencing critical infrastructure by rendering them invisible to unauthorized access attempts. 

Enterprise Protection: Beating the Bug

A cybersecurity solution based on blockchain technology offers a future-proof way to secure IoT devices, networks and communications. Blockchain is already showing great promise in the energy supply chain security and management. Studies, validations and verifications of blockchain applications to tackle cyber security challenges are already underway and some companies are seriously making efforts to learn how technologies such as blockchain could help secure and optimise their complex systems. Companies like Xage are employing blockchain’s tamperproof ledgers to share security data across industrial device networks. Using its blockchain-enabled KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure), cybersecurity startup Guardtime tags and verifies data transactions. These are just a few of the many use cases under development which are blockchain-based. 

As critical infrastructure like power plants and transportation become equipped with connected sensors, attack risks go higher and the need for better security becomes even more critical. If blockchain technology gains wider adoption, critical infrastructure will be better protected. With over 45 billion IoT devices expected to be connected by 2021, according to a report by Juniper Research and the cumulative cost of data breaches between 2017 and 2022 expected to reach $8 trillion, it is imperative that critical infrastructure projects begin to research and develop solutions that will ensure that key security systems are not compromised. 

Block Patrol consults on infrastructure projects on how to adopt future-ready, flexible and highly scalable cybersecurity strategies. Our team of industry-specific advisors help entities – both public and private – to shift strategy from reactive to proactive by helping uncover vulnerabilities and recommending innovative solutions to augment existing systems. 

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