Opinion: The tech behind Bitcoin could reinvent cybersecurity

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
February 27, 2017

Given the recent cyberattacks on critical infrastructure around the world such as the Christmas 2016 power outage in Ukraine, which left more than 200,000 people in the dark, the task of protecting vital systems and networks has become an issue of pressing global importance.

Meeting that challenge requires improving digital security standards and practices across all industries. It also demands investing in the newest and most promising technologies such as blockchains.

Though Bitcoin gets most of the press, the technology undergirding it – blockchains – has the potential to transform business, and maybe even revolutionize cybersecurity. 

A blockchain is simply an online ledger, e.g., a distributed database of who owns what. The database is separated into transactions, called blocks. Once a new block is added to the chain, the data in the block cannot be changed, the digital equivalent of etching a Bitcoin transaction in stone.

From making businesses more efficient to recording property deeds to securing medical devices, a range of huge organizations are investigating in new ways to deploy blockchain technology. Startups in the space have attracted more than $1 billion in funding. Even the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon's experimental brain trust, is researching blockchain technology to "create an unhackable messaging system."

But to date, relatively few firms are exploring the application of blockchain technology to help safeguard critical infrastructure. That needs to change, both on the part of US business leaders and policymakers.

Read the full piece at The Christian Science Monitor