Worried about cyberattacks? Blockchain cybersecurity a next-gen weapon


Cybersecurity is a never-ending threat to the world of IT. Cyberattacks are on the rise and every year we witness numerous assaults on companies both large and small that result in huge data and capital losses. Sensitive data is always at a stake when stored in a digital medium. The IT world has now come to a point that cyberattacks are inevitable. How can we fight back? Many InfoSec experts, analysts, and companies believe that revolutionary technologies provided by blockchain cybersecurity can be weaponized to deal with the increasing cyberthreats.

Although blockchain was first devised to power the cryptocurrency bitcoin, the technology is now widely used and adapted for an array of purposes by many companies. There are several advantages and applications of blockchain technology. While the technology can completely disrupt the way things work in financial institutions, it still has the potential to serve several other fields. Due to the working mechanism of blockchain and the technologies underneath it, it can help improve the cybersecurity of any business by ensuring data security and integrity.

Here are some of the possible reasons blockchain technology can boost cybersecurity.

Decentralized nature of blockchain cybersecurity

Blockchain works on the principle of decentralized data storage. Data is not stored at any centralized location in the blockchain. The entire data is distributed across different nodes in the blockchain’s network. Blockchain resides on shared hosting across the network to improve collaborative data hosting. This allows the entire system to stay current when any part of the blockchain is updated. This way, the entire blockchain network serves as a transparent medium of data storage and transactional system in which even the tiniest operation can be monitored and verified by everyone in the network.Blockchain cybersecurity

Moreover, due to its decentralized nature, blockchain makes it difficult for any cybercriminal to take down the network or steal data. Every transaction is verified and cross-checked by other nodes in the network. Therefore, even if someone manages to tamper with the data stored in blockchain nodes, the entire network of nodes needs to be tampered to avoid being caught. This makes the system far more secure from data breaches than regular networks.

Traceability

Traceability serves as a major source of cyber-risk analysis and can help companies devise risk models to avoid cyberattacks. Blockchain provides a convenient and easy way to have clear and tamper-proof traceability as all the transactions in a blockchain be it public or private have to be digitally signed. All the transactions also come with a timestamp, which enables companies to easily find and trace any transaction.

The decentralized nature of blockchain also enables organizations with easy auditing and analysis of the risks and cyberattacks on the entire system. Any data tampered in a blockchain network can be easily traced back and the system can be revoked from the previous timestamp to find and remove the corrupted data or transaction in the network.

Secured private messaging

A lot of companies use electronic messaging services to transmit highly sensitive information. However, there are several instances where the secure messaging system is breached. Industry experts and security analysts believe that implementing blockchain technology for securing both public and private messaging can provide a reliable means of electronic messaging. Blockchain technology by its principles and techniques is tamper-proof and this can be used to build secure public and private messaging systems that can be made impenetrable if used and configured properly.

Preventing DDoS

Distributed denial of services (DDoS) is a type of cyberattack in which several systems are affected by malware and are takes down by overwhelming an online platform with overflowing traffic. DDoS attacks are growing in number and are growing in terms of severity. DDoS attacks have evolved over time and now can control devices running on the Internet of Things.

DDoS attacks are possible as most of the domain name space (DNS) systems are centralized. Attackers can target this central system to take down an entire service or network of services. Blockchain, on the other hand, relies on decentralized architecture. This means that with blockchain implementation, DNS will no longer need to be a centralized system, making it impossible for attackers to succeed. Implementation of blockchain cannot just prevent systems from DDoS attacks, it can also ensure the data being transmitted remains invulnerable to hackers.

Blockchain cybersecurity

A few companies have already started implementing blockchain technology to decentralize the DNS systems to avoid DDoS attacks. Blockchain can provide a means of decentralizing the current Internet landscape, which could revamp the existing IT scenario.

Secure authentication

In the current scenario, the authentication process involves human interference. This not only increases the capital and cost of authentication systems but also serves as a means of a cyberattack. In a blockchain system, every transaction and every operation is accomplished using nodes and every node in the system comes with its own unique identifier and security. Each node can be configured to have a password or an encryption mechanism, which allows the companies to securely automate the authentication process.

Blockchain cybersecurity

Blockchain relies on SSL certificates for the authentication process. By using SSL certificates, blockchain provides an easy means to authenticate users, transactions, and operations. This not just saves cost but also saves a lot of human effort in the process of authentication while keeping the system safe and secure.

Blockchain cybersecurity: Ride the wave

Blockchain is powerful, and blockchain cybersecurity is revolutionary. It is built on principles that make it tamper-proof and resilient to cyberattacks and data breaches. Although the technology is in use for the last half-decade, we are yet to achieve the true potential of this revolutionary technology. If implemented and configured properly, blockchain can bring IT security to the next level.

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Bandwagon Aims to Solve Ticket Fraud With The Blockchain


Each year $2.3 billion is spent on fake ticket sales, but a new software platform is taking the stage to eliminate ticket fraud, through the use of blockchain technology.

Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, Bandwagon is a blockchain-based ticket authenticity and fan identity management company. It’s also one of ten businesses taking part in IBM’s Blockchain Accelerator program.

Using data and the blockchain, Bandwagon is aiming to help sports teams, festivals, and other organisers eliminate ticket fraud. At the same time, it builds richer connections with fans regardless of where they purchased their tickets.

Harold Hughes, who started Bandwagon in 2014 as he finished his MBA at Clemson University, told Crypto Briefing that he wanted to create a fan-to-ticket marketplace. Similar to StubHub, his vision was to allow fans to protect their home-field advantage by indicating that they would like to resell their tickets to a member of their own fan base.

“We set up a membership program for each team and facilitated the transactions for physical and digital tickets, as well as parking passes,” he added. “As we began to scale, we became aware of the fact that we were leaving ourselves and our fans vulnerable to fraudulent tickets due to the fractured and siloed nature of the ticket industry.”

He noted that it’s thought around $2.3 billion is spent each year on fake ticket sales. In a bid to change this, the team turned their attention to the blockchain.

Using the blockchain, Hughes explained, Bandwagon aggregates various ticket marketplaces into one platform so that event organisers have better insight into fan attendance and identity.

“We create APIs [application programming interfaces] that connect with various ticket marketplaces so that at the point of checkout, each transaction is recorded and registered to our blockchain network,” he continued. “The fan’s buying experience is not changed, the ticket marketplace’s process is not changed, yet event organizers are able to gain visibility like never before while eliminating ticket fraud.”

According to Hughes, their solution is unique because it hinges on “collaboration versus exclusivity.” With collaboration in mind, Bandwagon is able to partner with both ticket marketplaces and event organisers.

Bandwagon’s first client was the Sacramento State Hornets. In order to work with them, Bandwagon needed to get a snapshot of who attended their baseball games. During the pilot with Sacramento State, Hughes said that they identified 48% of their fans, up from 0%. They then expanded into football, providing insight on brand preferences and demographics.

“We have since expanded beyond sports most recently with the Africa Rising International Film Festival (ARIFF),” he added. “Last November, ARIFF hosted their inaugural event and we were able to help them identify and target more than 30% of their attendees, having a direct impact on their event’s attendance.”


Why is the Blockchain Needed?

According to Hughes, the data to move the industry forward is siloed in the databases of many different stakeholders, each of which has different needs and market drivers. Teams that issue tickets may know about their season ticket holders, but not what happens when the tickets leave the distributor.

Additionally, the secondary market knows when a ticket is being sold, but not where it originated from or whether it’s being sold on another market at the same time, Hughes says. Likewise, while marketers and vendors have an expected target audience, they may not know who attended the game.

With the aid of the blockchain, Bandwagon’s solution can work for three parties: teams, ticket companies, and brands.

Knowing who’s in the stadium means that teams can deliver a better fan experience and value. For ticket companies, a clear audit trail gives fans the option of listing their seats, as ticket companies know the ticket’s origin, ownership, and restrictions. With brands, Hughes noted, the biggest opportunity is to lower customer acquisition costs by using fans’ data based on the preferences they display.

Hughes added:

We believe that blockchain is the right technology to address these issues, by allowing stakeholders to cooperate on a shared model of tickets and fans, with the confidence to know that the model is only ever accessed and modified in ways that meet agreed-upon business rules, enforced by smart contracts securely, mathematically, and cryptographically.

With revenues continuing to vanish into the pockets of scalpers and bad actors, Bandwagon is hoping that new technology will be a winning ticket to restoring confidence in the industry.


The author is invested in digital assets. 



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New Survey Indicates Businesses Unprepared to Deploy Blockchain Technology


A new study has revealed that, while businesses are considering blockchain adoption, overall they do not feel ready to implement the technology. The survey was conducted by software development firm Globant and published on Feb. 19.

The report says that 64 percent of organizations are intent on investing in blockchain solutions to improve their internal operations, while only 46 percent of respondents feel ready to deploy the technology.

Out of 61 percent of organizations that are already researching blockchain, only 28 percent have chosen a blockchain provider. According to the survey, the majority of decision-makers are still investigating the technology and comparing vendors, and have not yet defined their stance on blockchain tech.

Diego Tartara, CTO Latin America at Globant, said, “Blockchain implementation is different for every organization, so it’s imperative for business leaders to have a unified idea of what their integration will look like. The technology as such usually requires a shift in paradigm to adopt it, thus sharing core objectives for the technology is key for a successful blockchain integration.”

To prepare the study, the researchers reportedly surveyed 679 senior-level decision makers employed in the fields of marketing, IT and operations in the United States during first quarter of 2018.

Earlier this month, a TD Bank survey revealed that 90 percent of treasury and finance professionals think that blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) will positively affect the payments industry. Per the survey, only 14 percent of the respondents said that their organization has training strategies for blockchain.

A survey by the Global Blockchain Business Council published last January revealed that 63 percent of respondents believe that senior business executives have a poor understanding of blockchain technology. 30 percent consider their knowledge of the emerging technology as “average.” The remaining 7 percent described senior executive understanding of blockchain as “good.”





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Jones Day Presents: Smart Contracts and Blockchain



February 2019

In the sixth in a series of 12 Jones Day Presents: Blockchain videos, partner Mark Rasmussen discusses smart contracts, which execute automatically upon the occurrence of an event, and describes the use of the technology in service contract agreements, the Internet of Things (IoT), and its applicability to blockchains. 

Watch other videos in our Jones Day Presents: Blockchain series.

Jones Day is a global law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers in 43 offices across five continents. The Firm is distinguished by: a singular tradition of client service; the mutual commitment to, and the seamless collaboration of, a true partnership; formidable legal talent across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions; and shared professional values that focus on client needs.



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BSI Group CEO lends his advice over blockchain and the supply chain industry



The CEO of BSI Group regularly deals with supply chain challenges: is blockchain as a technology worth the hype? Or is there a better strategy?



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Why Freelance Workers Should Be The First To Adopt Blockchain


Freelance workers don’t often have as many rights yet are driving a staggering amount through our economies.Getty

Are you one of the estimated 162 million people in Europe and the United States who consider themselves a freelance worker? With the rise of the gig economy on the march through well-known models such as Uber, Airbnb, Etsy and more, one-man bands are becoming the norm. They fall under a new bracket of businesses nicknamed the ‘micro-enterprise’ and essentially make up a whole new tier of the business eco-system.

While their services may be in demand (they lack rights and rarely deal in contracts) they often find themselves unable to scale their business due to the current financial systems in place. Essentially, they lack the credibility that the stability of a normal income brings to meet credit standards, with little collateral and fluctuating revenue, they find themselves without a backer.

What’s more, for those financially solvent, the system that legally validates business is often cumbersome and expensive (forecasted accounts anyone?) putting even more of a burden on to the micro-business that may be just starting out.

However, is not possible to ignore the rising popularity of micro-payments in the market any longer.

What are micro-payments?

If you’re not familiar with the concept of micro-payments, it is defined as any online transaction of less than $10, that allows users to pick and choose a particular service instead of subscribing to the entire package, which can often become quite expensive. Think of a service like Apple’s iTunes, that allows users to buy a single song, rather than having to purchase the entire album. A classic example of micro-payments. Not all freelance business falls under the micro-payments category, but with the rise of online surveys and sites such as Fiverr (where business conducted at $5 an hour is often the going rate) becoming the norm, these low amounts can be found swapping cyberspace more frequently than higher amounts.

As with almost any system of online transaction, security and speed are often the primary challenges that need to tackled. Now the underlying infrastructure that micro-payments rely on, is certainly not tamper proof, but that is where blockchain can come to the rescue. According to a report by Deloitte on micro-payments and blockchain, the latter can provide content owners “full control and visibility of the consumption and number of uses” of the content that they are offering.

Trusted-third party – not fool proof

The existing trusted-third party solution is not fool proof. If hacked, this one centralized body could jeopardize sensitive information of the entire network of consumers. Blockchain technology, by the virtue of it being decentralized, should therefore offer a rock solid shield that protects the services being offered by any platform, from any external threats, rendering copyright infringements and piracy a distant memory.

With regard to speed most consumers are worried that blockchain cannot yet compete with the likes of Visa or Mastercard, in terms of speed of digital transactions. This is legitamate as the current system of micro-payments is designed in a way which puts an increased load on a trusted, centralized broker. According to the Stanford Paper, “Micropayments: A Viable Business Model?”, this could result in scalability issues for the system. But what if there was a way to both increase speed and improve scalability via the use of blockchain?

I recently read of a project called ThunderCore who recently partnered with Consensys. By using an accelerator to create a network of DDoS resilient nodes, it completed a single round of voting that could confirm a transaction in under a second, resulting in more than a thousand transactions per second.

It became possible because in order to achieve confirmation the network only needed ¾ majority to take the asynchronous path which would facilitate instant transactions. And by increasing the speed, it was able to minimize the possibility of congestion on the network and therefore keep the gas fees at minimum below a cent.

Renting by the minute

With the speed and cost of transactions minimized, a new micropayment business models such as pay-per-article, a model where you only pay couple cents for the the articles you are interested in reading instead of a hefty subscription or renting out a bike on a minute to minute basis becomes possible.

Using blockchain, businesses can leverage the immutable nature of technology to establish valid identity and reputation. Essentially businesses hope that by providing this customized method it would build a trustworthy profile for all stakeholders in the ecosystem and enable specialist projects like Tokoin that concentrate on micro-businesses to establish identity and reputation.

Most importantly, in a business ecosystem, data plays a role to analyze and reveal crucial business opportunities such as market potential and product dispersion. By putting this data on the blockchain and creating a structured, compiled record of data as a valuable asset, micro-businesses have opportunity to use non-financial data to finally build a decent credit score.

There are also other benefits such as allowing businesses to crowdsource their assets on the decentralized ledger to meet the credit requirements needed and benefit from low interest rates through aggregated buying. Through this, micro-businesses have the option to tailor the funding method to their specific situation. As we move towards a cashless society, digital currency will continue to assume a central role in society. The question is, are you onboard?



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Is blockchain the future for supply chains?


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February 19, 2019

As blockchain technologies continue to develop, one question still remains – is blockchain the future for supply chains?

Amber Road’s white paper, Digital Data & Technology Standards: The Glue That Enables Blockchain for Supply Chain, explores the digitization that must take place for blockchain to reach its full potential.

In this white paper, you’ll learn:

  • The “price of admission” to the blockchain game
  • The case for adapting a standard tech framework
  • Why smart contracts and meta-blocks should be supply chain standards


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Blockchain firms welcome new professional conversion programme | Video



Firms have welcomed the new professional conversion programmes (PCPs) for mid-career developers to join the industry. Blockchain is one of three …



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What JPMorgan’s New Cryptocurrency Means for Banking and Blockchain – Adweek


When J.P. Morgan announced it had created its own cryptocurrency last week, the bank left the industry speculating about what the move might mean for the blockchain-based payments and for the broader future of banking.

JPM Coin, as it’s called, isn’t a traditional cryptocurrency—instead of being something to invest in—it’s more of a tool for settling transactions between financial institutions and across countries with a digital coin pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The bank said it’s already successfully tested JPM Coin, making it the first bank to make its own digital coin. However, unlike many ad-tech companies, which rely on a vast ecosystem of partners and customers, JP Morgan is able to test internally without the buy-in of anyone else.

Regardless of what J.P. Morgan does with JPM Coin, brands and other blockchain companies will likely be watching closely over the coming weeks and months. They’ll also be watching to see how other banks working on their own blockchain technology respond—or how blockchain companies like Ripple, whose cryptocurrency, XRP, has gained traction to solve a similar issue around intra-bank transactions—now that a competitor is now in its backyard.

Anne Ward, CEO of Veritoken, a blockchain startup focused on identity management, said it might be good for Ripple to have competition because it further proves the need for the company’s technology. She said XRP has already been “battle tested.”

According to Ward, 2019 will be a “year of firsts” for cryptocurrency,” which could lead to more validation in the space—and more encouragement for testing now that the biggest brands are getting on board.

“If this spawns a bunch of silos, I don’t think that’s great,” she said. “But if we figure out how this can go into a wallet and consumers can use it, that would be amazing. It tells you they’re looking for other ways to move money around.”

J.P. Morgan is not the only big bank already making bets on blockchain this year. The day before it announced JPM Coin, the Spanish bank Banco Santander announced a $700 million deal with IBM to speed up its own digital transformation. The five-year plan isn’t solely focused on blockchain—other areas will include improved uses of artificial intelligence and security systems—and could provide further assistance to the “digital investment team” that Santander started last year.

Smaller banks are also testing. As Coindesk pointed out last week, California-based Signature Bank is already moving money with a similar system called Signet, with “more than 100 clients” using it to send “millions of dollars each day.”

Jesse Lund, head of blockchain solutions for financial services at IBM, said JPM Coin’s uses overlap with what HSBC began testing last year. However, while they’re not exactly the same, he said there are other opportunities, too. For example, it could allow JP Morgan to extend its lending model outside of the bank.

Lund said that could make JPM Coin an “equalizer’” if smaller banks can transmit directly to the bank.

“It allows the small guys to sort of play on the field only the big guys could play before,” he said. “It’s a paradigm shift. It really is.”

That’s not necessarily good news for Ripple, which has been courting larger banks and even central banks for tests. Lund said Ripple’s implementation that forces banks to only use XRP ended up being “problematic.” That inspired IBM to allow choices for its own World Wire program, which gives clients the chance to use XRP and other tokens. He said JPM Coin’s pivot to the dollar might be more attractive than the more speculative value of XRP.

“It kind of torpedoes their model compared to everyone else, but also plays into model we were hopping for,” he said.

Ripple, which now has more than 200 banks using its payment system, declined to comment. However, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Bloomberg that JPM Coin’s debut on a closed network “is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO.”

Rajesh Kandaswamy, Garter’s chief of research for blockchain, doesn’t necessarily see JPM Coin as direct competition to XRP, describing it as “expected.” However, if JPM Coin takes off, the creation of the coin could increase the likelihood of banks developing blockchain tech directly rather than relying on outside vendors. However, he stressed that JPM Coin is very much still a prototype.

“What I anticipate is after this is we’re not going to see some news for some time,” he said. “And while it will spur some activity, it’ll be wait and watch more for some time.”

Less than 10 percent of the top 100 largest banks will have core systems for blockchain in place by 2021, according to recent research by Gartner. And yet, the research firm sees financial services as one of the sectors most likely to benefit from the technology, both in terms of improving processes and finding new markets.

So does JPM Coin count as an inflection point? No, Kandaswamy said. However, it is a next step.

“Everyone talks about banking as a key place for blockchain,” he said. “In our view, banking is one of the first entrants, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re one of the earliest beneficiaries.”

Branding JPM Coin as a cryptocurrency is also curious, considering how the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has vocally criticized the likes of Bitcoin for more than a year. And while he has praised the promises of blockchain technology for other uses, it’s left some wondering why J.P. Morgan didn’t simply describe it as a tool rather than a token.

“I don’t think what they’re offering is anymore of a cryptocurrency than Monero in Fortnite,” said Kyle Asman, partner at the blockchain investment advisory firm BX3 Capital, referencing the fake money used in the popular video game.

Frank Chaparro, a journalist who covers cryptocurrencies for the blockchain-focused media company The Block, expressed a similar sentiment. He said it might be to help the bank capture the “awe and sexiness” of fin tech—much like it did by creating its own investment app to compete with the likes of free stock-trading platforms like Robinhood.

“Why did they go about marketing it as a cryptocurrency?” he said. “Do they want to embrace the ecosystem? Was it a play for coverage and marketing pickup? That’s an interesting angle too.”



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Interested in blockchain tech? Don’t miss this talk


Yaya Fanusie, senior fellow at the Center on Economic & Financial Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, spent seven years as an analyst of economics and counterterrorism in the CIA, briefed President George W. Bush on terrorism and spent three months in Afghanistan providing analytics to senior military officials.

Yaya Fanusie

Yaya Fanusie. (Courtesy photo)

Recently, he co-authored the report, “Bitcoin Laundering: An Analysis of Illicit Flows into Digital Currency Services,” the first public domain analysis on digital currency laundering.

On Monday, Feb. 25, he will give a talk at University of Delaware.

National Security Implications of Cryptocurrencies & Blockchain Tech,” co-sponsored by the Cybersecurity Initiative, First State Fintech Lab, Electrical & Computer Engineering and the Institute for Financial Services Analytics, will explore ways that blockchain tech can be criminally abused, and what cybersecurity professionals should know as cryptocurrency becomes more and more common.

The free event, held at Evans Hall on the UD campus in Newark from 3 to 5 p.m., includes a post-talk networking reception.

Register here.

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