Blockchain is a “decentralized, distributed electronic ledger built on the model of offering absolute security and trust.”(Scientific American) Cryptographic transactions are recorded chronologically and publicly, they are then time-stamped and “linked to the previous one.” Of most importance, these digital ‘blocks’ can only be updated through the consensus of all participants, with data interception, modification and deletion near impossible.
Most who know about Blockchain probably remember hearing about its use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and etc. While it is of course true that these were earlier and generally still the primary use of Blockchain technology, the industrial security industry as well as many other industries stand to benefit from clever implementation of the technology.
“Blockchain has the potential to improve everything from improving data integrity and digital identities to enabling safer IOT devices to prevent DDoS attacks. “(Scientific American) It has the potential also to radically redefine the way we use digital and physical (IOT) device based security.
The world is already filled with IOT devices, yet many, many more are on the way still. In commercial security, we think of IOT devices generally as wireless cams, door and window intrusion detectors and the like. Right now, an estimated 8.4 billion internet enabled “thermostats, cameras, streetlights and other electronics” exist. (Scientific American) By the year 2020, 20 billion is expected, with 500 billion or more by 2030.
These devices will of course always be online–and with leaving so many things with IP addresses on comes the risk of a hack.
Put simply, a blockchain is a transaction-recording computer database that’s stored in many different places at once. In a sense, it’s like a public bulletin board where people can post notices of transactions. Each post must be accompanied by a digital signature, and can never be changed or deleted. While not yet widely implemented in devices, and not yet seen much in remote access control and commercial surveillance, there are many companies that think Blockchain based cybersecurity for such devices is the next step (as well as devices outside of the industry.)
Chinese juggernaut Foxconn and U.S. based CISCO are just two of the major players working with the relatively new technology in ways that could shape the landscape for the commercial security and access control industries.
An access control or other surveillance and security system would require it to be easy to program into “small devices with limited memory space and processing power. They would need standard ways to communicate and authenticate updates, to tell official messages from hackers’ efforts.”
While Blockchain is still not known to the average person, it is a technology that is and will continue revolutionizing the way we think about security. The fact that the tech was originally primarily used for digital currencies does lend itself well to the commercial security industry, and may soon become the digital protocol by which each IP camera, glass break detector, and etc. will talk to each other and ultimately, talk to you.
Source: Scientific American