According to EveryCloud, cybercriminals earned around $445 billion in 2018. According to Infosec Magazine, that figure is set to increase in 2019. Forecasts are that ransomware attacks this year alone will cost the global economy $22 184 per minute.
Let that sink in for a second. That’s not in a day, a week, or a month, but in sixty seconds. That means that during your lunch hour, $1 331 040 will be lost because of ransomware. That’s a sobering statistic considering that ransomware is just one vector of attack.
Cybersecurity companies are busy working on solutions to the problem. Interestingly enough, Bitcoin, the payment solution of choice for hackers, could offer the solution.
Bitcoin Might Offer a Solution
Or, to put it more accurately, the technology underlying Bitcoin, blockchain could offer an interesting solution. Now, if you’ve been keeping an eye on cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech in general, you’ll know that the security of the system is a big part of its appeal.
Why Haven’t We Seen a Lot of Viable Projects Yet?
The idea that the tech could be used to improve cybersecurity is not a new concept. But, at this point, we’ve yet to see a truly workable solution being put in place. That’s hardly surprising – Bitcoin might not be the youngest kid on the playground, but it really only started attracting serious global attention in 2017.
It was hailed as a revolutionary concept by tech experts when it was first released. But it’s been a hard journey to get the business community at large to buy into the concept. After all, storing your data across multiple computers to keep it safe flies in the face of conventional cybersecurity wisdom.
Since the price started skyrocketing in 2017, though, interest in the tech became intense. 2017 saw an extensive increase in startups looking for ways to exploit the blockchain tech. The opensource nature of the tech and its versatility make it useful across multiple industries.
2018 saw the practical application of the tech as projects moved from the design stages to real-life applications. Still, creating a viable application of this tech is easier said than done because of the logistics involved.
A Quick Lesson in How Bitcoin and Blockchain Tech Work
As Bitcoin grew into the behemoth, it is today; the cracks started showing. The proof of the work verification system is responsible for the higher levels of security that Bitcoin offers. It’s also responsible for creating a system that can be unwieldy when it comes to high transaction volumes.
Bitcoin is the perfect example. In the early days, transactions were processed quickly because the volumes were low. Transactions are verified by miners who use their spare computing power to solve complex equations. The miner who solves the equation first receives Bitcoin in exchange for their effort. It’s designed to be a simple system.
As the popularity of Bitcoin grew, more miners wanted their slice of the action. Because of this competition, it became harder for your typical miner to make a profit. Solving the equations takes a fair amount of computing power and a lot of electricity now.
These days, unless you have a specialized rig with a lot of computing power, it’s not even worth trying.
Where are we going with this? As mining becomes less profitable, miners move off to seek greener pastures. At the same time, an increasing number of transactions are being added to the chain. The result is a system that is heavily congested.
Transactions take longer to get authorized. If you’re willing to pay more, you can move to the head of the queue. These aspects reduce the usefulness of the system as a whole.
It does pay to remember that the problems with Bitcoin are largely related to the size of each block. You can read more about why block size is such a factor in Coin Telegraph’s article. For our purposes, it’s enough to know that this issue is not related to a fatal flaw in the blockchain tech itself.
Subsequent applications have found ways around this issue. This has increased the usefulness of the tech itself. And it will get better over time.
Think of it this way. My first gaming computer was a monster. It was state of the art at the time and possessed a whopping 64GB hard drive. At the time, it was the best of the best. Today we have flash drives with double the capacity.
Blockchain tech is set to evolve in the same way. As we grow to understand more about it and develop it more, we’ll find more useful ways to apply it.
What Does Any of This Have to Do with Cybersecurity?
According to the United States Department of Defense, blockchain tech is being looked at as part of its cyber defense strategy. According to the report that they released in July of this year, zero-trust security systems are integral in this process.
They intend to use blockchain-based tech to create a secure communications network and to secure their data. They admit that the implementation of the new system will prove complicated and that they’ve yet to create a working model.
At the same time, though, they do believe that a blockchain-based system offers significant advantages in terms of security and reducing costs.
So, while Bitcoin faces an uncertain future as an investment opportunity, it seems that blockchain tech is here to stay.
Bitcoin fever might be over for now, but there is no doubt that the underlying tech is valuable. It would seem that Santoshi Nakamoto’s place in history has been secured. Bitcoin may have flaws, but it has proven that the original idea is workable.
Since then, companies such as Ethereum have proven that the tech can be useful in a range of different applications. Ethereum offers users a platform to use to build their own apps and can rightly be said to have earned its own place in history thanks to the ingenuity with which they applied the tech.
What makes it all so exciting is that we’ve only just started to explore this tech. At the moment, though, the future for cybersecurity looks a little brighter thanks to it.
Chris is a computer geek, writer, and content creator. He is interested in every aspect of the IT industry. Freelancer in his nature, he is willing to get experience and knowledge from around the world and implement them in his life.