How secure is blockchain?

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by Lumai Mubanga

With so many cyber-attacks launched against conventional Information systems around the world, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars, many have wondered how secure blockchain really is. Before you launch into this space, you may need how secure or insecure the system is. This article will provide some insight into how blockchain is designed and secured at the same time.

Decentralized and Vulnerable?

Blockchain runs on a massively decentralized global system and network. Perhaps, that makes it more vulnerable to attacks than other systems, you may think. The fact that it appears to be insecure due to lack of a “perimeter” so to speak, it implies that its defence system should come from a different source. What could that source be?

Surprising enough, the security on blockchain comes from its design. The incredible amount of repetitions that happen on the network is a massive defence mechanism on its own. How so? Every computer on the network is required to keep a copy of the ledger in addition to periodically reaching a consensus, majority consensus on what constitutes authentic data on the platform. Now, imagine an astronomical amount of work that an attacker has to do if he wanted to alter or change the ledger. That action must be repeated on every other ledger available on the network! That is practically impossible.

Security vulnerabilities in Applications

In writing applications for IT systems, usually, organizations either develop them in house or purchase them from third-party service providers. This makes it possible to inherit some bugs and other vulnerabilities.

However, in blockchain, these applications development takes a different route. Take for example the writing of smart contracts. These may be written by calling code from other smart contracts which of the source may be written by others. However, there is a deliberate effort to spend more energy to ensure that the code or contracts they are using are secure and safe. Due diligence is di=one to make sure that there is no inheritance of insecure code that could be potentially be written by untrusted individuals.

Insecure Hardware?

Blockchain technology runs on hardware owned by anyone on the network from around the world. Because it is a much more massively distributed network, and there is no direct control or access into the hardware that supports it, many users may not be security conscious. What this implies is that there is no deliberate mechanism to countercheck the safety and security of all users. This appears to make it more vulnerable than the security offered by conventional technologies, which regulate the type of hardware on their networks. How safe does this diverse array of hardware make blockchain to be?

The secret lies in the protocol and code layer at play. The code is designed to offer massive defence systems beyond the basic hardware that many unsuspecting users may be using to gain access to the network.

Thus, despite its massively decentralized peer-to-peer global network, called smart contract codes, blockchain is a highly secure system designed for the future.

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