Adrian Zmudzinski reported in April, Cointelegraph, that Forcepoint was awarded a blockchain-related patent that will enhance cybersecurity in a way to detect known good user actions from anomalous and malevolent user actions. Forcepoint, owned by Raytheon, a U.S. defense contractor, and Vista Equity Partners.
After years of well-known cyberattacks, the issue has not abated.
In this article, I will review the current state of cyberattacks and the promise of blockchain technology to close the gap in government related cyberattacks.
A study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), showed that from 2006 to 2019 there were over 440 cyberattacks “on government agencies, defense and high tech companies, or economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars.” The list of attacks is from places like Iran, China, North Korea and others.
While the number of cyberattacks for 2019 (January to May) is slightly lower (39) than for the same period in 2018 (44), it is nonetheless trending in a continued upward direction toward the end of 2019.
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) | Washington, D.C.While the CSIS reported on international espionage, Cynthia Brumfield, CSO, writes in May of cyber attacks on local governments.
“Over the course of the past few weeks, a seemingly stepped-up wave of malware and ransomware infections has struck a number of municipalities across the U.S.,” Brumfield added. It is apparent that data in city systems are an attractive target for anyone looking to get valuable private data about the citizens across the U.S.—whether in Imperial County, California, or in Greenville, North Carolina.
The Promise of Blockchain
With financial resources strained in nearly every city and local governments across the country, they may not have the resources to protect their data on their own. Indeed, as Brumfield pointed out, the federal government may need to step in to offer assistance.
Blockchain technology just may be the solution. A critical feature of blockchain is its ability to increase security and data protection. Many initiatives are currently being pursued by government and industry.
Sam Daley, Built In, addresses the promise of blockchain. “Blockchain, a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), is focused on creating trust in an untrusting ecosystem, making it a potentially strong cybersecurity technology,” Daley says.
Many industries are looking at blockchain to improve their cyber security. These include healthcare, cryptocurrencies, and banking, to the military. Indeed, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)—responsible for developing the internet protocol and many top-secret military defense projects—”is looking into blockchain mainly for its usefulness in encryption and secure data transfer,” Daley adds.
Andrew Arnold, Forbes, noted that NASA has recently decided to adopt blockchain to enhance their cybersecurity, and “prevent denial of service and other attacks on air traffic services.”
Arnold points out that blockchain technology has four use cases for cybersecurity. These include the ability for blockchain to offer decentralized storage solutions, IoT security, provide safer DNS, and the ability for blockchain to implement security in private messaging.
880 blockchain patents have been filed so far in 2018
Alibaba owns 90
IBM owns 89
Bank of America owns 53
VISA owns 24
Google owns 22
Walmart owns 21
Coinbase owns 20
JPMorgan owns 20
Facebook owns 20 pic.twitter.com/j5CiKkdn5r
— LongHash (@longhashdata) October 15, 2018
As blockchain shows promise to significantly improve cybersecurity, companies that can develop blockchain protocols—will contribute to the confidence and adoption of blockchain across many industries.
Forcepoint’s patent appears to be a complex system used to monitor and manage user behavior. It is designed to store data collected from user interactions, which is observed electronically. In this way, the ecosystem can use the data to detect “known good, anomalous and malevolent user actions.”
There continues to be real world issues faced by the U.S. government when it comes to the security of the country. As the complexities of geopolitics threaten U.S. defenses the need to improve cybersecurity is urgent. As demonstrated by CSIS—that threat is not going away any time soon.
In addition, with local governments experiencing cyber threats from homegrown hackers and nefarious actors, they too are challenged to protect their data sources and constituent data.
The federal government has the ability to leverage current research and the benefits of patented technology to provide all government agencies from the elementary school, county systems, to statewide agencies—to meet the growing demands of data protection and cybersecurity.
Zmudzinski, Adrian, “Blockchain Patent Granted to Cybersecurity Company Owned by U.S. Defense Contractor”, Cointelegraph, April 2019.
Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Significant Cyber Incidents”, June 2019
Daley, Sam, “Wallets, Hospitals and the Chinese Military: 19 Examples of Blockchain Cybersecurity at Work”, Built In, April 2019
Arnold, Andrew, “4 Promising Use Cases Of Blockchain In Cybersecurity”, January 2019