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Never mind the Bitcoin - What can Blockchain do to change the shape of Threat Intelligence?

Global Head of Cyber Insights
Many organisations are now looking to harness the power of Blockchain to do more than support a cryptocurrency.
Nevermind the BitcoinWhen Bitcoin first came to the public’s attention back in 2009, it promised to transform the world of financial transactions. However, as of early 2017, the value of Bitcoin in circulation amounted to a rounding error in the currency world – effectively zero. Similar currencies have suffered comparable fates.
Why? Because Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a curiosity. What’s far more interesting is some of the technology that enables it: Blockchain. The idea of a tamper-proof distributed ledger created and maintained by an autonomous network of computers is enticing for all kinds of reasons. Therefore, many organisations are now looking to harness its power to do more than support a cryptocurrency. There’s a new world of private, permissioned blockchains based on ‘shared database’. Significantly, financial institutions are investing heavily in private blockchain projects, as they promise great cost benefits where institutions can save billions. At the same time, technology companies are working on other applications of Blockchain to verify data, individuals, services, software and hardware.

Blockchain in the Cyber Security Sector

Blockchain has mostly been associated with financial services, whereas cryptography, privacy, autonomy and fault tolerance are all central characteristics of Blockchain that have immediate applications in cyber security. What is now clear is that the irreversible nature of data in Blockchain is a potent force where data integrity and security are concerned. Digital identity management is core to Blockchain. Various applications are available to manage and process decentralised digital identities, like ShoCard. Banks and central authorities are trialling the use of Blockchain to share customer data, using a similar concept. The concept is equally applicable to Identity and Access Management (IAM) in enterprises.
Private Blockchain can be used to build tamper-proof digital vaults to protect connected users and devices, define their access permissions clearly and bring redundancy to the system. Authentications are device to device, without any reliance on a central authority or passwords. This also applies to secure communications within a supply chain – using an external Blockchain as a master controller, managing identities, controlling access and acting as a tamper-proof log of events.

What can Blockchain do for the threat intelligence sector?

Another area that is not much talked about yet, but could benefit from blockchain technology, is threat intelligence and how it is shared. Businesses are generally aware of the value of sharing threat intelligence and information on cyber attacks amongst peers and with government. But, the fear of exposure is significant. It’s highly likely that a great deal of threat intelligence is left to moulder away or used in duplicate. Shared effectively, such intelligence could change the whole shape of the threat intelligence market segment. Blockchain technology allows the sharing of information in real time, anonymously and confidentially.
All too clearly, once the technology is fully proven, it won’t take long to see private Blockchains percolating into the cyber security world. From there, its reach will surely go wide and deep.
Neena Sharma Global Head of Cyber Insights July 12, 2017