Cybersecurity poses a serious risk to business enterprises and organizations worldwide. Hacking attempts, along with phishing and other unlawful activities have increased significantly, in proportion with technological advancements. More than 35 billion crucial records were exposed due to data breaches within the 1st half of 2020. Ransomware is directly responsible for business damages worth a whopping $75 billion each year. Combined with the growing demand for IoT-enabled smart devices, it is crucial to bolster existing security protocols and make periodic upgrades. Blockchain implementation in cybersecurity is quickly becoming an industry-standard- adopted by countless enterprises from different industrial domains.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware programs feature unbreakable encryption which upon installation prevents a user from accessing the computer system. The only way out is by paying the system attacker, usually through cryptocurrency. The activity is illegal, and a good income source for cybercriminals who gain from the system user’s willingness to have their data restored.
How does Blockchain fare against Ransomware?
Research experts admit that blockchain is a less-utilized forensic tool against cybercrime. It may be difficult to pinpoint a singular identity. However, blockchain keeps records of each and every single transaction. With clear visibility of fund movement throughout the entire public network, blockchain makes it easier to identify and unmask cybercriminals. The Colonial Pipeline ransom payment of $5 million dollars cleared on May 8. Blockchain analysis was able to trace the ransom recipient wallet within days.
Cybersecurity experts explain the main trick behind tracking ransomware attackers is tying the endpoints to the individual identities- a task made easier by blockchain analysis. The added security is an important reason behind worldwide blockchain implementation. HashCash Consultants, a global blockchain development company, offers highly secure blockchain network client solutions. Services feature state-of-the-art 3-point architecture, BIP-32, SegWit, Firebase, Firewall, on-call support, regular security patches, and more.
Blockchain Adoption in Cybersecurity Protocols
Increasing social media platforms give rise to cybersecurity concerns. Hackers can run havoc if they gain access to user-associated metadata. The majority of existing passwords are weak and unreliable. Blockchain is a safer alternative than end-to-end encryption in terms of security standards. Unified API structures make cross-messenger private communication a reality.
Hackers have been successful in gaining remote access to devices for some time. Through its intrinsic triads, blockchain decentralized administration in devices making it difficult for hackers to gain control of smart appliances and IoT devices with faulty security.
Blockchains can also help in the prevention of Distributed Denial of Service(DDoS). It is basically a risk to store large amounts of generated data in any centralized point, being an easy target for hackers. It decentralizes the Domain Name System(DNS) servers. During transit, blockchain can safeguard data from unauthorized access through high-level encryption. It can also be used for routine checks for installers, patches, and updates in firmware.
Blockchain Usage in Detecting Cybercrime
The Colonial Pipeline attack posed a serious threat to the US oil and gas sector. Following its occurrence in May, the Biden administration furnished new guidelines and pipeline regulations. Blockchain implementation was one of the most significant implementations in the updated framework. The FBI used blockchain analysis to trace the digital assets flow originating as ransom payments. The national law enforcement agency was able to track down and retrieve 85 percent of Bitcoins from the ransomware association DarkSide.
Blockchain analysis augmented with machine learning and other AI-based algorithms is in fact a great tool for combating ransomware and other cybercrimes. The network’s root characteristics of decentralization and transparency hinder miscreants. Bitcoin’s pseudonymous traits have a lot of detractors and entice cyber-attackers. But, what often gets overlooked is the open visibility of its transactions. The CIA has acknowledged its efficacy. A Columbia University research paper demonstrated 85 percent predictive accuracy in identifying ransomware attackers using ML and blockchain analysis. Around 400 million BTC transactions featuring almost 40 million separate addresses were used as the test sample space. 143 of them were known as confirmed ransomware. With clustering algorithms, the accuracy rate can be increased further.
Blockchain Boosts Cybersecurity in Traditional Banking
The conventional banking, finance, and trading world are often late adopters of technical innovations. But, even Wall Street has started considering blockchain implementation in security protocols. JP Morgan Chase, the US’s largest financial institution, has been optimistic about blockchain technology solutions for a long time- using it for several purposes. Quorum, the bank’s enterprise-oriented platform based on Ethereum, uses blockchain smart contracts for transparent and crypto-assured processing of private transactions.
Large banking networks are regular targets for hackers and frauds. The cash flow is huge- even trillions of dollars are common. A centralized network is another drawback. Banking MNCs face cyber attacks on a daily basis. In addition, there are 85 serious infiltration attempts each year. The OCC, a regulatory agency for US banks, declared in its annual report that high-tech phishing attacks dupe employees with credential information access. The recommended solution is a blockchain-like security protocol with multiple layers. Other than JP Morgan, Santander and Barclays are also using similar technology to improve security during fund transfers, particularly cross-border settlements.
Blockchain Improves Healthcare Security
It may be hard to believe, but the healthcare sector receives a constant onslaught of cyberattacks. Statistics suggest malware and phishing attacks are 2x more common in healthcare. Additional challenges include attempts to hack IoT devices with malware encryption.
Other than banking details, healthcare clinics, hospitals and doctors also keep patient health records- which fetch around USD 50 each in the black market. Recent technology advancements resolve credit card thefts quickly these days. Hackers extort millions from hospitals worldwide by threatening to expose confidential patient information, which may include names, social security numbers, physical attributes, medical conditions, and others.
A fragmented blockchain DLT is an antidote to the threats posed by cybercriminals targeting healthcare. Its decentralized nature ensures the distribution of partial information among a select few certified healthcare professionals. The complete patient’s health chart is the sum total of all the fragments. This way, cyber attackers won’t be able to retrieve complete patient details through encrypted malware.
Philips partnered up with hospitals worldwide to build HealthSuite Insights- a healthcare ecosystem built on blockchain and AI. Its AI analyzes key aspects of the existing healthcare system and includes operations, administration, and medical data. On the other hand, blockchain implementation ensures the security of patient data. The Suite highlights areas while offering efficient solutions to existing problems.
Contrary to popular belief, bitcoins are not ideal payment options for ransomware activities. However, that does not stop cybercriminals from using them on grounds of anonymity. The underlying blockchain technology is actually a great cybersecurity tool, effective in tracking bitcoin flow and revealing the attacker’s identity. With further developments and ML clustering, the efficiency will increase further.