Blockchain: A Future Technology for Ensuring Enhanced Security & Privacy

Introduction- Security and Privacy in Information Technology is the main buzz word discussed in the current times. The hackers or attackers are increased in number and waiting to attack the important data over the new advanced technologies. Building trust in new technologies became a critical as there are several issues (for example, security, privacy, trust, etc.) also raised with the development. In 2008, a novel approach was initiated to enhance security and privacy of information called Blockchain.

What is Blockchain? A blockchain is essentially a distributed database of records or public ledger of all transactions or digital events that have been executed and shared among participating parties. Each transaction in the public ledger is verified by consensus of a majority of the participants in the system. And, once entered, information can never be erased. The blockchain contains a certain and verifiable record of every single transaction ever made. Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.

What is Block? A blockchain collects information together in groups, also known as blocks, that hold sets of information. Blocks have certain storage capacities and, when filled, are chained onto the previously filled block, forming a chain of data known as the “blockchain.” All new information that follows that freshly added block is compiled into a newly formed block that will then also be added to the chain once filled. In other words, each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger.

Is Blockchain Secure? Each and every block in Blockchain is digitally-signed and hashed (created by a math function that turns digital information into a string of numbers and letters) in order to make an entry on to the Blockchain database. After a block has been added to the end of the blockchain, it is very difficult to go back and alter the contents of the block unless the majority reached a consensus to do so.

To understand it better, suppose hackers wants to alter the blockchain and steal information from everyone else. If they were to alter their own single copy, it would no longer same with everyone else’s copy. When everyone else cross-references their copies against each other, they would see this one copy stand out and that hacker’s version of the chain would be discarded.

For successful hack, hackers have to alter 51% of the copies of the blockchain so that their new copy becomes the majority copy and thus, the agreed-upon chain. Such an attack would also require an immense amount of money and resources as they would need to redo all of the blocks because they would now have different timestamps and hash codes.

Emerging Uses of Blockchain beyond Bitcoin (Cryptocurrency)

Secure sharing of medical data Music royalties tracking
Real-time IoT operating systems Cross-border payments
Anti-money laundering tracking system Personal identity security
Voting mechanism Supply chain and logistics monitoring
Original content creation Advertising insights
Immutable data backup Real estate processing platform (Smart Contracts)
Weapons tracking Tax regulation and compliance

Mr. Rohit Maheshwari, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Career Point University, Kota

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