Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies have the potential to enable unprecedented efficiency and transparency, optimizing operations much beyond what the current ecosystem of central databases and paper-driven bills of lading could ever achieve.
FREMONT, CA: Over hundreds of companies fell prey to the ransomware attack called NotPetya in 2017. Companies like Maersk and FedEx saw their global operations disrupted for weeks and suffered losses in hundreds of millions of dollars. As a result of this, ports and freight forwarders started to look into new technologies. At the same time, NotPetya was also a reminder to everyone that cybersecurity is difficult to retrofit and must be a part of the system since the beginning.
Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies have the potential to enable unprecedented efficiency and transparency, optimizing operations much beyond what the current ecosystem of central databases and paper-driven bills of lading could ever achieve. However, just like other technologies, blockchain also has its vulnerabilities and shortcomings, depending on how organizations utilize them. Every technological advancements made, end up being used for a host of reasons apart from what it was created for.
Due to the absence of a better option, for years, we have trusted intermediaries like banks, notaries, and customs to safeguard our essential documents. Blockchain promises to remove these traditional trust intermediaries, that is, replace human trust with digital trust. Traditionally, trust stems from predictability, and the same goes for digital trust. In order to trust the blockchain, we will need to predict its behavior, to ensure that it does nothing more than what it is supposed to. This can be achieved through cybersecurity. Over the last decade, we have seen a lot of hype beyond reason for blockchain. From a cybersecurity standpoint, blockchain's cryptogenic foundation is like an ultimate guarantee.
When it comes to new technologies, security becomes a very fascinating subject. The objective is to outsmart attackers, and this comprises of a subtle mix of innovative solutions and historical principles that stood the test of time. Blockchain, an innovation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, builds upon the technologies of the third industrial revolution. Securing blockchain starts with traditional information security. The security of the underlying infrastructure and the internet just cannot be taken for granted. Its roots comprise concepts like defense-in-depth, which was invented in the 17th century by French military architect Vauban, integrity, and availability, previously used by Julius Caesar in his time.
Blockchain can lag behind other technologies when it comes to confidentiality and availability. Storing sensitive data on the blockchain is not a good idea. Moreover, data availability and real-time data depend a lot upon the kind of blockchain in use. An in-theatre supply chain system for the military may use a different type of blockchain compared to postal mail service. As a result, it becomes vital to identify the kind of blockchain in use to determine what kind of risks the owners may face. This is crucial when it comes to setting the right expectations and fostering predictability and trust.
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