$345.4 Billion. That’s how much the global cyber security industry will grow till 2026 from USD 217.9 Billion in 2021 according to a report by MarketsandMarkets.
$56.7 Billion is what the global blockchain market would reach in 2026 from $6 billion in 2021 according to a report by Research and Markets.
So, what does cyber security have to do with the blockchain industry?
A lot in fact!
Blockchain as a technology augurs well for the industry. From legacy enterprises to startups are building products, services on blockchain to fight cyber threats. At the same time, blockchain-based companies are also facing cyber threats which in turn gives rise to business opportunities for cyber security companies.
The native technology architecture of blockchain makes it massively scalable for the $300 billion-dollar cyber security industry. Blockchain allows the integrity of transactions and data.
According to a study conducted by Jupiter Research, cyber-attacks globally have caused damages amounting to $2 trillion in 2019. With such huge implications and financial impact, companies are trying to find new ways to mitigate these attacks.
Blockchain has many use cases in cyber security like secure private messaging, IoT security, decentralising storage for companies, protecting data transmissions, reduce cyber-attacks caused due to human errors, reduce DDoS attacks, security of IoT devices among many others.
Blockchain was designed with the motive to make data transparent. It automates data storage procedures and, in the process, reduces human interaction with data storage systems.
Blockchain has found its utilisation in almost every industry. It helps flag any discrepancies in process or transaction hence providing the much-needed certainty in the transactional process-flow.
The last few years have seen few start-ups come up in the ecosystem like Quantstamp, OpenZeppelin, Hacken, ConsenSys Diligence who provide blockchain cybersecurity audits, consulting, monitoring tools, smart contract security, and audit services to identify vulnerabilities, exploits, and fix them.
Furthermore, take the example of Cryptyk. A cyber-security start-up based out of San Francisco has introduced an approach to counter cyber threats by using encrypted and decentralised file storage methods with blockchain auditing and monitoring.
Or ‘Block Armour’ who is helping organisations against data breaches and advanced threats with their blockchain solution that renders critical systems and cloud servers invisible to intruders.
These are not isolated use cases. Mumbai-based Avalance Global solutions is working on providing blockchain security for blockchain product companies. Manan Shah, the founder of the cyber security company says, “Blockchain as a technology is path-breaking. But smart contracts and all built on top of various protocols have many loopholes that can be used by hackers. This is all code.”
He added further that their organisation is building solutions for blockchain security, source code reviews, smart contract checks, block timestamp attack preventers, etc.
Similarly, Indrajeet Bhuyan, Guwahati based cyber security researcher said that It is not entirely right to say blockchain is not secure. It’s like saying the internet is not secure. It all depends on the individual protocol and the standards being followed by the group of people writing that piece of code.
Bofin Babu, VP, AI at CloudSEK says that blockchain allows companies to develop solutions that are more robust and provides new business opportunities but points out that could be standardised that individual blockchain protocols follow and adhere to.
One of the major uses cases that has come up for enterprises are decentralised storage solutions wherein mission critical data is stored in a decentralised manner wherein access keys are provided to users and can be revoked anytime to prevent any attack. In addition, malicious hackers do not get any single point of entry to the data architecture because of the nature of decentralisation.
Similarly, Domain name systems that are technically the phonebook of the internet have faced loads of DDoS attacks over the years because of their centralised nature of things. But blockchain will reduce such attacks by putting the domain names in a permanent format on distributed ledgers, and the entire funnel can be built using smart contracts.
Not only this, blockchain architecture allows companies to build better robust secure messaging platforms. It can be used to create secure security messaging protocols and a unified API network.
On top of that, the advanced technology allows detection and prevention of malicious software (firmware and patches) updates as hashes are recorded permanently on the blockchain layer.
Even a Deloitte report points out that while still nascent, there is a promising innovation in blockchain towards helping enterprises tackle immutable Cyber Risk challenges such as digital identities and maintaining data integrity.” Blockchains could help improve cyber defence as the platform can secure, prevent fraudulent activities through consensus mechanisms, and detect data tampering based on its underlying characteristics of immutability, transparency, auditability, data encryption & operational resilience (including no single point of failure).
But the report also warns “blockchain’s characteristics do not provide an impenetrable panacea to all cyber ills, to think the same would be naïve at best, instead of as with other technologies blockchain implementations and roll-outs must include typical system and network cyber security controls, due diligence, practice, and procedures”.
Although blockchain technology opens new market opportunities for cyber security companies, there are a few limitations organisations need to take into notice. Firstly, there are many scalability issues because of the size of the blocks and the total number of transactions per second, complete dependence on private keys, and in case one loses the keys, data is lost forever.
While cyber security is one industry that is poised to get impacted, there are other sectors as well being impacted positively by blockchain. As Dr. Sandeep K. Shukla, Joint Coordinator, C3i Center and The National Blockchain Project, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Kanpur of IIT Kanpur points out. He says, “Blockchain is playing a very critical role in India. Projects on land record registry for Govt of Karnataka, E-procurement portals, property registration, distribution of seeds, fertiliser subsides among many others.”Also, some State Governments have started experimenting with Blockchain. Telangana initiated to streamline the Public Distribution System and Rationing Scheme for the poor with its introduction of Blockchain. Maharashtra is also moving ahead on Blockchain with its intended interventions for Agriculture Marketing, Supply Chain, Vehicle Registration, and Document Management System.
While cyber security is one aspect of blockchain technology, traditional industries stand a chance to build applications and services for the future.