Why blockchain is quickly changing from an option to a necessity…
Though a relatively new invention, blockchain is already turning out to be one of the most versatile and flexible pieces of emerging technology. Originally developed to be used as the backbone for securing cryptocurrencies, blockchain’s simple premise is key: a distributed digital ledger that stores data in a more desirable way. This is because, thanks to characteristics like immutability and cryptographic encryption, blockchain can store data in a way that is tamper-proof and more resistant to unauthorized access.
Replace the number of coins in it with VINs (Vehicle Identification Numbers) and drivers’ licenses and you get a more secure version of DMV that allows self-verification and authentication of data. Record your product information in it and you have an immutable supply chain record that your customers can tap in to see if the product they are buying is authentic or not. Distribute the chain of data and you remove the single point of failure that makes most single and centralized databases vulnerable to hacking attempts.
Sure, it is not as simple as I portray it, but I am pretty much sure you understand what I am driving at.
I am a staunch supporter of the technology, not just because that is what we do here at BPRB, but because I have a belief in it. I can spend hours giving you examples of real-world application cases but there is one use case of blockchain protection (or perhaps more accurately, the lack of one) that I personally experienced.
Last week, I received a call from my wife. I could sense her tension across the connection as she unravelled a horrifying account of professional scammers who threatened to wipe her bank account clean.
In this instance, she’d received a call from someone claiming to be a representative of our country’s central bank conducting a survey on the financial data of households across the country. My wife only revealed the name of her bank; nothing more. But a couple of minutes later, she got a call from yet another person, this time claiming to be from her bank. Now, this is where these scammers got real professional in their work.
The caller ID displayed the bank’s official number (something that can easily be faked using illegal PABX and VOIP exchanges). The caller knew her full name, her government-issued ID number and even our address. She was almost convinced it was a genuine call. It was only when he asked for her mobile banking app’s username and password in the confirmation process did she realize what was going on.
Long story short, my wife’s smart and her money’s safe.
Though the scammers could have gotten such sensitive information from a number of sources, the most plausible leak was our national education authority as she had submitted personal documents to them for verification only a few days before this incident. The submission included her mobile number and a copy of her national ID card.
The data she’d provided and the timing of the scammers calling with such detailed information were too coincidental to ignore.
I believe that this kind of data breach could be prevented with a careful application of blockchain protection technology. Instead of requiring someone to physically send in documents to be verified, the institute can implement the technology and store digital copies of the papers (data which colleges and universities are mandated to send over anyway). With no way to alter the data, the regulator can give view-only access to firms, institutes and companies who can simply match the provided document against the database. This could be taken a step further by having a QR code for every document for anyone to scan and compare the saved copy to the provided document. Practical application of this use case exists, with platforms such as Certifaction already providing such services.
By applying and leveraging the security of blockchain protection technology, especially the privacy and data privacy ones, we could have been saved from not only the long and tedious process of document verification but from the mental agony of knowing that the scammers were nearly successful in siphoning all of our money.
The worst part? The breached data is still out there and who knows when another bad actor will come back to haunt us.
Note: this blog post expresses the author’s personal opinions and does not necessarily represent the views of Bitcoin PR Buzz.
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