What’s The State Of Blockchain In Cybersecurity? 7 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 12 April 2019
  • Sam Mire

Blockchain-powered anti-virus software doesn’t exist yet, but this doesn’t mean the cybersecurity industry has neglected blockchain technology completely.

Integrating new technologies in existing systems has always been a tall order. It’s even riskier In a sector like cybersecurity, with so little room for error. A temporarily disabled firewall can compromise an entire network, and IT professionals are understandably hesitant to change the status quo.

So it’s no surprise that blockchain adoption in cybersecurity isn’t happening quickly. Commercially viable systems are in development, but they have yet to hit the market. Scalability, energy consumption, and heavy investment in existing systems must all be addressed before the industry adopts blockchain tech outright.

Cybersecurity professionals are used to working on an observe-react paradigm, and adopting the blockchain would be a major shift from that. Instead of detecting threats when they emerge, blockchain would tie security to identities and devices. It would essentially clear a participant before they enter the network, instead of proving themselves hostile when they’re already in.

Here’s what the experts say.

1. Paul Brody, Global Innovation Leader at EY

Paul Brody“The state of blockchain is relatively immature and still gaining steam. The core principles of blockchain technology are extremely attractive in a number of ways, but the maturity of the whole blockchain application development stack is relatively low. We have so many tools for developing classical client-server applications, and they don’t all yet have comparable solutions in the blockchain ecosystem.

Blockchains are attractive because they can be difficult to tamper with and have other features like smart contracts and tokens that have special properties. These include customizable business logic and the prevention of double-spend. Software licenses managed on blockchains could come with more specific rules and applicability. They could also include resale permissions, which would be a whole new dimension.

Most of the applications so far are for things like logging security and taking advantage of the tamper-proof nature of public networks, but we have only scratched the surface of what is possible so far.”

2. David Campbell, COO of Electric Coin Company

David Campbell“Significant potential, but almost no production deployments.  The most interesting application of “blockchain” in cybersecurity to date, in my opinion, is the Certificate Transparency project, which leverages a Merkle tree to attempt to solve trust issues with the global PKI.”

3. Steven Sprague, CEO of Rivetz

Steven Prague“It is still early days. Today, global cyber security has been built on a model of watching and reacting – the classic network security stack. Blockchain will play a key role in a shift to a model built on identity and attestation, assuring that data comes from a known device in a known condition with assured controls. Blockchain provides a critical model for assuring [records are] immutable and can be proven.”

4. Sarbari Gupta, President and CEO of Electrosoft Services Inc.

Sarbari Gupta“Blockchain technology is still being analyzed and vetted for use in supporting cyber security requirements such as confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and systems. Concrete commercial solutions are not yet available, but many hypothetical scenarios are being considered and many proof-of-concept solutions are being built and tested.”

5. Doug Wick, VP of Product and Marketing at ALTR

Doug Wick“Bar a few exceptions that leverage blockchain’s architecture to protect data, we've seen early projects in configuration verification technologies and identity, but nothing that appears to have taken real hold commercially. However, we expect to see a wave of commercialization this year.”

6. Robert Paul, Director of Research of Development at NuID

Robert Paul“The cyber security industry is still very much attached to legacy technologies like security information and event management (SIEM) , AV, and intrusion prevention system (IPS).

However, awareness is growing that blockchains are currently the best tool to solve the data “integrity”, part of the common CIA (confidentiality, integrity, and availability) triad. There are a number of companies working on applying blockchain to address critical issues in the enterprise cyber security landscape.”

7. Stephen Savage, Professor and Course Lead at Purdue University Global

Steve Savage“There is substantial and justified hype based on the potential seen in the blockchain, but productive integration with existing systems presents difficulties.

There are a few exciting solutions, but they are not widely adopted at this point in time. There are also issues with blockchain architecture, especially with the consensus mechanism that is energy and time-intensive and does not scale well. A lot of current work on the technology centers on fixing the consensus and scaling issues.”

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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.