Blockchain to Optimize and Secure Client Data Information – Part 3by Sacha Huber June 17, 2016
Blockchain-based Enigma system
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, therefore, have developed a guaranteed privacy system based on blockchain, in which data can be stored, verified and shared without ever being revealed to any of the network’s parties. ‘Enigma’, which is powered by the blockchain, is essentially “different computers that are talking to each other, but they don’t do mining, they just provide resources to the network, bandwidth, some of their hard drives, some of their CPU power”, according to co-founder Oz Nathan, a technology entrepreneur with experience working with the Counter Terror Unit of the Israeli Defence Forces. This will purportedly allow banks, for instance, to confidently sign up to private blockchains, knowing that sensitive client data will remain private.
Enigma’s founders are also speaking to medical companies, particularly those who are unable to put huge swathes of client medical information onto the blockchain. As a solution, Enigma breaks down data into smaller pieces, and rather than performing conventional encryption, a “secret sharing” method is used, according to co-founder Guy Zyskind where the system “guarantees mathematically that each of these pieces are completely masked, completely random and completely secure”.
Blockchain is to prevent industrial data breaches
Moreover, there does not appear to be a limitation to the magnitude of projects that can be put onto the blockchain. The UK government is now looking to blockchain technology to protect itself against data breaches within some of its biggest industries. Guardtime, which provides cyber-security services and uses blockchain to secure sensitive data, recently announced it will be in charge of protecting the UK’s nuclear power stations, flood defence systems and electricity grids from cyberattacks.
According to a recent report by think tank Chatham House, a ‘culture of denial’ currently exists in the UK’s nuclear power industry with regards to the risk of cyberattacks. Blockchain’s permitted ledger, however, can be used by Guardtime to boost the security of some of the largest systems of UK infrastructure. The system uses hash-function cryptography that is based on ‘signature’ authorization, known as Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI). Ultimately, the technology allows all data across the system to be securely authorized, while allowing for independent verification of the records, without the need for centralized authorities.
Although blockchain’s technology has been synonymous with the rise of Bitcoin, Guardtime has been using similar technology for the purpose of security prior to Bitcoin’s emergence. The company employs cybersecurity experts who have experience in the US military, as well as state-level digital security experts from Estonia, who resolutely defended the country from a comprehensive cyberattack by Russia in 2007. Indeed, Estonian innovations in addressing confidentiality and data integrity have been deemed by the US as cutting-edge, which has in turn led to the formation of the FinTech partnership.
Defence systems, telecommunications companies and financial-services firms are all looking at the technology, according to CTO Matt Johnson, who also believes that Guardtime’s permitted blockchain can provide proof of time, identity and authenticity, while preserving confidentiality of the data, on an industrial scale.