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Cyber Security General Security

How A Cyber Security Company Uses Blockchain Technology To Prevent Data Tampering

While cryptocurrencies remain vulnerable to a number of cyber security attacks, the underlying blockchain technology is being used to protect user data from being modified.

We believe that blockchain technology will be transformative in the tech and IT sector in the coming years, similar to what the internet did for the world back in the 90s and early 2000s,  said John Zanni, President of the Acronis Foundation. We started a few years ago working with the Ethereum blockchain to see how to better protect data. Today, part of our storage and backup software lets users notarize any digital data and put that fingerprint on the blockchain to ensure it can’t be tampered with.

As the physical world meets the digital world, data has become a key player for a number of businesses. Yet ensuring that data remains safe, secure, private and authentic has become an ongoing challenge.

For example, the recent Equifax cyber-security breach that occured in September 2017 compromised sensitive information of nearly half the U.S. population. Cybercriminals accessed approximately 145.5 million U.S. Equifax consumers’ personal data. Equifax has also confirmed that at least 209,000 consumers’ credit card credentials were taken in the attack.

Moreover, one of the biggest challenges a business faces today in terms of cybersecurity is “data tampering,” which is the threat of data being altered in authorized ways, either accidentally or intentionally.

Authenticity of data is actually one of the most important factors when it comes to cyber protection. Data can always be changed and modified. Blockchain technology can be used so that data can be signed with a digital signature. That digital signature, called hash, can then be stored on either a public or private blockchain ledger, which is highly immutable, making its possible to check if data was modified at any given time.

How Blockchain Technology Protects User Data

While blockchain technology is most commonly defined as a decentralized, distributed ledger used to record transactions across multiple computers, it can also be seen as a distributed database that maintains a growing list (also known as a chain) of data transaction records.

Consider that every participant of this decentralized system has a copy of the list of transactions. This means that no “official” copy exists. The distributed nature of the chain prevents tampering and revisions, as every action on the blockchain is fully transparent. In turn, data that is stored on a blockchain can easily remain authentic, since the security of every transaction is recorded.

Blockchain In The Real World

When applying blockchain technology for protecting against data tampering in the real world, common use cases often involve protecting transaction logs, proving the existence of legal documents and even confirming creative works originated on a certain date.

For example, a use case might involve a musician who is skeptical about publishing music on the internet due to plagiarism and other security concerns. Using blockchain technology, however, allows the artist to create a backup that contains pieces of digital music or other materials that can be copyrighted. Once the backup is complete, a certificate with cryptographic evidence is issued to help copyright claim, in case of infringement. The record of the original music pieces and their creation dates are recorded in the blockchain, allowing for confirmation that a piece of music existed at a certain time in the past and was authored by that artist.

“In general, blockchain technology today focuses mainly on cryptocurrency and fintech. Yet the world needs to look beyond that to see how businesses and individuals can take advantage of this technology. The day someone figures out how small businesses can apply blockchain technology in a multitude of applications is the day it will really flourish,” said Zanni.