Crises with Personal Identity Security: A Blockchain Use Case

Image Source: networkworld.com

If you live where my sister lives in Potlatch, Idaho, you’d never have to worry about locking your doors. Neighbors watch out for one another. My sister’s home is an idyllic home on farmland at the base of the Cascades on the border of Washington state, and Idaho. However, when it comes to her computer and Internet access, she has to be very guarded. Cyber-theft and hackers is the leading cause of stealing one’s identity.

Consumer Affairs  reports that identity theft is more prevalent in 2019, and is primarily the result of cyberattacks. Based on Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec for 2019—cybercriminals are using stealthier methods to steal ones identity and commit fraud.

A leading source of identity theft is the threat to the Internet of Things. The study found increasing attacks on IoT devices averaging 5,233 occurrences per month. “Routers and connected cameras were the main targets of IoT attacks in 2018, accounting for about 90% of activity.” Nearly anything—where our home devices are connected to the Internet—is vulnerable.

Image Source: disruptordaily.com – Example of what can be hacked. Every day devices we don’t think about. Some of these devices falling into the wrong hands can be fatal, like the car and insulin pump in the example above.

Most of us complete forms online at an alarming rate and trust. However, formjacking is up 117%. Over 57,000 websites were compromised by formjacking, with bad actors hijacking credit card data from online payment forms.

Sam Daley  reports that according to LifeLock over 16 million Americans, complained of identity fraud and theft in 2017. Someone’s identity is being stolen every two seconds.

With this level of security breech, clearly a response is needed. Blockchain, with its high level of security, transparency, and immutability shows promise as an answer to online data hacking and identity theft.

Blockchain Use Case

All one needs to steal your identity is your name, birthday, and social security number. Thus, by keeping all this data—including your birth certificate and other sensitive information on a decentralized blockchain ledger—we could see a dramatic drop in identity theft claims.

Sam Mire, writing for Disruptor Daily  highlights a number of blockchain use case projects that address these issues.

Securing the Internet of Things

More and more our home today is connected to the Internet. Whether it’s our smart TV or our electric meters that allow us to control the temperature of our home—they use the Internet to get connected.

According to Mire: “In many ways, the IoT has already pervaded our lives, and not always for the better; there’s a reason that the Internet of Things has been referred to as the security crisis of 2018. An estimated 25% of cyber-attacks will target IoT devices by 2020, putting some of our most sensitive data directly in harm’s way.”

IoT connected devices, while convenient, are vulnerable to cyberattack. Consider the connected devices such as Internet based security systems like Ring. It allows us to see who’s knocking on our front door from our cell phones while we are at work.

Blockchain use case to develop identity authentication for smart devices and connected devices will go a long way to combat cyber theft.

Use Case Projects

WoTT – Global scale smart device identity platform.

UniquID – IoT connected device identity protocols.

ObjectTech – Global identity ecosystem on the blockchain.

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Source:  Disruptor Daily

Securing Form Data 

In the early stages of the Internet, data sharing was a two-way communication workflow. I connected to a server where I needed to do the work, and the server allowed me access based on a password. The Internet is the framework where communications and other data sharing tasks are carried out.

Over time, third party entities found ways to serve as an interface. They made themselves “seemingly invaluable, requiring troves of personal data in order for users to access the services that they so desire, whether it is email or online shopping,” says Mire.

Not only are third party services vulnerable—but so too are the ISP’s, Internet service providers. They have access to every data point that flows through their servers. They track every site we visit—and we don’t know, or may not be comfortable with how that data is being used.

Blockchain can be used to help one protect their data. One proposal identified by Mire, is that the user will be able to store personal data and identify data needed for most forms and applications on a blockchain. This can be used throughout the Internet. In this way, the user doesn’t give each site the data time and again.

An alternative solution could be built on the blockchain in the same way—but would allow third parties access to the data with the user’s consent.

Use Case Projects

Metadium – Decentralized identity protocols.

Madana – Creating secure personal data sharing on the web.

Hu-manity.co – Personal data title rights on the blockchain.

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Source:  Disruptor Daily

Conclusion

In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, security and safety is the second most important human need, next to having food, water, and rest.  As we begin to get a handle on the most sensitive data about who we are, we will be able to satisfy that need to feel secure.

We should always be diligent and be careful with where we release our data. For blockchain technology there are promising use cases on the horizon that show promise of providing the security we all need.

 

Samuel H. is an author, writer and speaker with over twenty years in the educational technology sector.

Contact Samuel

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