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Cybersecurity is a Mess; Can Blockchains Fix It?

While the most popular use of blockchain technology is Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the wider picture is that distributed ledger technology is decentralizing, democratizing and disrupting sectors like finance, property tech, education, governance, and more. This is why we can expect blockchain technology to also revolutionize or even disrupt highly technology-oriented fields like cyber security. 

Also, we can expect blockchains to introduce improvements that can make security more accessible and budget-friendly. With smart contract capabilities, these can even have a secondary market where users can benefit from sharing resources back to the network.

Decentralising traffic
Technology is quickly evolving, and the latest iterations of blockchains already support smart contracts – meaning automatically-executing pieces of code that can carry value, data, or other such condition-based execution.

Distributed ledgers are already being used for applications like finance, social networking, and virtually any other peer-to-peer activity. With regard to cybersecurity, blockchains can also revolutionize the industry.

Gladius, a decentralized DDoS protection and CDN provider, aims to utilize unused resources across a large global network of nodes in order to protect its clients from DDoS attacks and accelerate websites. Through blockchain technology, traffic requests are routed through Gladius before finally reaching the web server. The main difference between Gladius and existing cloud-based DDoS protection solutions is that there is no central server or authority involved, and also there’s no one point of failure. 

Every user in the blockchain is actually a node, wherein his or her computer contributes its own bandwidth, storage, and computing resources, in order to protect websites and business data from attacks.

In exchange, nodes get fair compensation for their resources, in the form of cryptocurrency tokens – these can be exchanged for services on the network or even for fiat currency.

The platform also acts as a content delivery network in the absence of a DDoS attack, ensuring fast website access for users – again leveraging the excess bandwidth and storage that its users’ nodes offer, in exchange for token compensation.

By utilizing blockchain technology and a distributed infrastructure, Gladius is aiming to make CDNs obsolete by having more distributed mini data centers throughout the world and thus much faster loading, and DDoS mitigation safer due to blockchain encryption and cheaper.

Decentralizing the infrastructure
Another novel approach to enhancing internet security is by decentralizing the domain name server or DNS system itself, or the internet’s equivalent of a phonebook. Currently, DNSes are controlled by several domain name registries and registrars, and these resolve a domain name into the IP address of the server’s physical location. Unfortunately, DNSes can also be a potential attack point. Bringing DNS servers down can also result in a slowdown of internet access.

This is the concept behind Blockstack, which is a blockchain approach to DNS-like resolution. Blockstack is a peer-to-peer network that handles identity and digital storage, thus doing away with having to access websites through DNS servers.

According to the company’s founders, the internet currently has several potential points of failure, which attackers can take advantage of. These include the DNS, public-key infrastructure, and data stored on content and database servers. Decentralizing these makes it virtually impossible for attackers to block access to legitimate sites and online services.

Conclusion: Blockchains are here to stay
We are only starting to explore the true potential of blockchains in disrupting industries across the globe. Network attacks like DDoS have plagued users and website owners for years, and we may have finally found the best solution through distributed and decentralized networks.

Now the question is how quickly such innovations would gain mass adoption, in order for the networks to maximize their effectivity.

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