Blockchain — is it really secure?
By Alpha Roc on The Capital
Blockchain records certain entries made to it. Starting from the first student in the attendance register, each student is linked to their previous roll number mathematically. A particular classroom with the attendance details of all its students represents one “block.” Each classroom is linked to its adjacent classroom in a series that forms the block-chain. This chain forms a distributed network running across the campus of the school. The attendance data is encrypted in a way that the attendance of the last student of the chain depends upon all the students that come before them. The security lies in the following four fundamental principles of the blockchain;
· Immutability — No attendance entries once made can be edited or deleted.
· Decentralization — The attendance data is distributed in a network spanning all the classrooms, rather than one.
· Encryption — The attendance details are mathematically hashed in order to prevent unauthorized access.
· Anonymity — Because the data is hashed, it doesn’t reveal the identities of the students without proper authentication.
Then is blockchain uncrackable?
While cracking a blockchain is not impossible, it is by no means an easy feat. There are several ways to look at the security features provided by Blockchain.
When we talk about security, we talk about the integrity of data. The data should be theft-proof, which means someone without the rightful access shouldn’t be able to tamper with it.
So far, Blockchains have been attacked but via loopholes in the surrounding environments and not by the value of the blockchain itself.
For example, the famous attack on Ethereum — one of the largest blockchains, was made possible by a fault in an integrated smart contract. A smart contract is an automated program that facilitates transactions based on certain events.
Furthermore, the human aspect of a blockchain, which is both irrevocable and prone to error at the same time, can contribute towards a less or more secure blockchain.
For example, Bitcoin’s worst attacks have been perpetrated by Cryptocoin Exchanges — platforms for selling and buying crypto-coins, which involves lapses in the platform management fronts.
Ways to defeat blockchain
Blockchain relies on a complex cobweb of mathematical structures that can be defeated in their own game. The two most popular ways are “Eclipse Attack” and “51% Problem.”
Blockchain’s key to the successful operation is its nodes. Two participating parties in a transaction — lender, and borrower can be considered as two nodes. In this method, if hackers are able to take over the communication of blockchain nodes, they can make a particular node verify fake transactions. This’ll allow the hacker to waste the resources of the Blockchain infrastructure, and cause a system failure.
Blockchain is decentralized for the very reason that no single miner owns more than 51% of the stake. However, if that happens, they can disrupt the other 49% of nodes and subsequently control the blockchain as per will. Theoretically, this is only possible if the Blockchain is too small or has rogue miners involved in it. It will be way too hard to own more than 51% of the stake in large blockchains with massive mining capacities
Use of blockchain security
Experts in the relevant fields have claimed that blockchain technology can be used to initiate major changes in the security industry as a whole. Blockchain technology hopes to address multiple challenges associated with digital transactions such as double-spending, data security, cross border transactions, chargebacks, frauds, and currency reproductions. Employing blockchain shrinks the costs associated with online transactions, all while concurrently increasing legitimacy and security.
Some proposed global security uses of blockchain are :
Protection of sensitive records and authentication of the identity of a user, especially in the banking sector :
· Enhancing structural security
· Securing internal communications
· Making passwords obsolete
· Privacy and security of digital chats
To conclude everything, given the various fundamental principles of what a blockchain actually is, allows blockchain to be highly secure if they are implemented properly, and it is safe to say that if more research is to be put into it, the level of security will only keep going up. With the various industries already implementing blockchain, we can expect to see further implementations on various aspects in the future.