recently, the credit rating firm Equifax sustained a significant data breach
which compromised people’s most sensitive personal information. According
to Fortune, “Equifax has revised its estimate for the number of
people potentially affected by its recent massive data breach to a total of
145.5 million people.” This is an astounding breach; but perhaps what’s most
shocking about this attack is that it isn’t shocking at all. While it is
expansive in scope, the Equifax hack rivals similar breaches of Yahoo!, the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission, Blue Cross Blue Shield and others.
identity crimes have real victims who experience considerable and long-lasting
consequences as a result of these cyber attacks. Unfortunately, cyber attacks
are not limited to consumer enterprises. Sophisticated hackers are targeting
government databases, successfully gaining access to highly sensitive and
classified information about federal employees and active military personnel.
2015, more than 22 million people were compromised due to the largest
government data theft. Most troubling was The Washington Post’s revelation
that “a foreign intelligence service could use the information to identify U.S.
intelligence operatives.” Just a few years prior, when Wikileaks published
sensitive U.S. government information, the BBC reported that “U.S.
military officials contend that allowing enemies access to their strategic and
operational documents creates a dangerous environment for American troops
serving abroad.” These specific types of data breaches compromise national
security and they endanger our active military personnel.
result is a nightmare scenario: hackers could gain access to a centralized
government database and publish the identities of foreign operatives on
Wikileaks or any other online medium; foreign governments would then be able to
identify our operatives. However, given the recent trend of government and
consumer institutional hacks, this seems more like an inevitability rather than
a worst-case scenario.
regarding reader response to the Equifax hack, The New York Times wrote that there was a “sense of helplessness, the
recognition that we are at the mercy of an industry that makes money off our
data, treats us with disdain and answers to no one.” In a cultural moment when
this sentiment is common, the blockchain emerges like a hero ready to save the
day. The blockchain is the powerful, accessible new technology that offers
immediate solutions to identity security — especially when it matters most.
blockchain is the technology developed as the accounting mechanism of the
cryptocurrency platform Bitcoin. Since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009, blockchain
technology has advanced significantly. It is primarily proliferated by
Ethereum, a rival cryptocurrency that employs the blockchain as a platform for
its own cryptocurrency but also as a platform for others to develop their own cryptocurrencies
and business solutions. The blockchain is a decentralized platform that runs
similar decentralized applications (DApps), which accomplish a variety of
purposes. It’s the innovation behind the fintech movement, the impetus for profound
new business solutions and it may be the future of record keeping. When applied
to personal, organizational and governmental privacy, blockchain technology is
likely the best tool for thwarting cybercriminals and ensuring data security.
How it Will
companies and government agencies rely on centralized servers that are easy to
attack using brute force attacks, phishing scams and other rudimentary methods.
The blockchain is decentralized, so it’s able to combat brute force attacks
because there isn’t a centralized server to attack.
if an attacker gains access to a blockchain network and its data, this does not
necessarily mean the attacker can read or retrieve the information. Since data
is stored in blocks and verified independently, data integrity is guaranteed
because it cannot be altered without the verification of the other, unaffected
blocks. Finally, the blockchain’s decentralized nature means that, given a
security breach, there wouldn’t be a singular point of failure and attacks would
remain isolated without affecting the entire system.