Blockchain and NFTs are two progressive ideas that are rapidly changing our current data environment and how we safeguard it.
In recent years, measures adopted by organizations to secure their operations have largely included blockchain and NFT in security.
Blockchain ensures that all the policies of the CIA triad model — Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability — are satisfied in order to secure the data of the organization. According to Investopedia, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other. Both blockchain and NFTs in security play their respective roles.
Blockchain technology has unveiled a new phase in identity management and cybersecurity through decentralized data protection. The goal is to protect private information about people and businesses against malicious hackers or outsider attacks. Identities of individuals and objects can also be traced using it. Decentralized technology, security through blocks, private and public blockchain, and smart contracts are the focal points of its security advancements.
Users can store data in a decentralized system on the blockchain network, where it can then be utilized for more complex cryptographic protocols. A single entity does not have control over the identification or sensitive information of another user, thanks to the decentralized system’s design. Under this arrangement, it would be nearly impossible for hackers to break into the network because doing so would demand simultaneous attacks on more than 51% of the system.
Security through Blocks
Blockchain keeps records of data in blocks, each containing a timestamp and a cryptographic hash of transaction data. Its in-duplicity is still a standout feature as it allows consumers to verify when their identities have been compromised.
Private and Public Blockchain
Organizations can communicate without a third party or the necessity for a centralized authority in a private blockchain database. However, on a public blockchain, anyone may access the data and use it or simply view it. They are resistant to manipulation whether they are used in private or public settings since they are accessible and secure.
The terms of deals are enforced by smart contracts without the need for human or automated intervention. Data cannot be tampered with in this arrangement. These provisions can be used to control the identities by organizations, business owners, investors, and government agencies, including defense systems.
NFTs are one way through which organizations achieve data protection. With the advent of blockchain-based technology, they assist in producing impenetrable or irrevocable transaction records. NFTs use smart encryption and validation as one of the methods for safeguarding assets. The system is set up so that practically anyone with access to the internet can easily trade and purchase assets.
Using encryption, NFT blockchain technology creates unchangeable transaction records that last as long as necessary. NFTs are represented by special images known as cryptographic tokens. A cryptographic token adds an extra degree of protection by making it possible to trace and identify a specific object. Due to their distinctive attributes, these tokens can be utilized in sophisticated identification and data security. An NFT creates a network for businesses so virtual assets can be stored and matched between those utilizing the network and those on it. By doing so, it provides consumers with enhanced security by eliminating any third party, and as a result, it secures all crucial data.
NFTs can improve cybersecurity in several ways, such as by integrating security features, enabling digital signatures for every transaction, and utilizing encrypted messaging services. NFTs communicate with identity managers using authentication to reduce the risk of impersonation and further protect users. Due to their lack of duplicity, NFTs can enhance cybersecurity. Cryptography also improves data protection because it is flexible and may be used in various ways.
Since both blockchain and NFT in security still need to be completely explored, both technologies will surely grow with time. Users just need to take enough time and precautions to secure their organization’s data.
On email security in the era of hybrid working
With remote working the future for so many global workforces – or at least some kind of hybrid arrangement – is there an impact on email security we are all missing? Oliver Paterson, director of product management at VIPRE Security, believes so.
“The timeframe that people expect now for you to reply to things is shortened massively,” says Paterson. “This puts additional stress and pressure on individuals, which can then also lead to further mistakes. [Employees] are not as aware if they get an email with a link coming in – and they’re actually more susceptible to clicking on it.”
The cybercriminal’s greatest friend is human error, and distraction makes for a perfect bedfellow. The remote working calendar means that meetings are now held in virtual rooms, instead of face-to-face. A great opportunity for a quick catch up on a few emails during a spot of downtime, perhaps? It’s also a great opportunity for an attacker to make you fall for a phishing attack.
“It’s really about putting in the forefront there that email is the major first factor when we talk about data breaches, and anything around cyberattacks and ransomware being deployed on people’s machines,” Paterson says around education. “We just need to be very aware that even though we think these things are changing, [you] need to add a lot more security, methods and the tactics that people are using to get into your business is still very similar.
“The attacks may be more sophisticated, but the actual attack vector is the same as it was 10-15 years ago.”
This bears true in the statistics. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found in its Phishing Activity Trends Report (pdf) in February that attacks hit an all-time high in 2021. Attacks had tripled since early 2020 – in other words, since the pandemic began.
VIPRE has many solutions to this age-old problem, and the email security product side of the business comes primarily under Paterson’s remit. One such product is VIPRE SafeSend, which focuses on misaddressed emails and prevents data leakage. “Everyone’s sent an email to the wrong person at some point in their life,” says Paterson. “It just depends how serious that’s been.”
Paterson notes one large FMCG brand, where a very senior C-level executive had the same name as someone else in the business much lower down. Naturally, plenty of emails went to the wrong place. “You try and get people to be uber-careful, but we’ve got technology solutions to help with those elements as well now,” says Paterson. “It’s making sure that businesses are aware of that, then also having it in one place.”
Another part of the product portfolio is with EDR (endpoint detection and response). The goal for VIPRE is to ‘take the complexities out of EDR management for small to medium-sized businesses and IT teams.’ Part of this is understanding what organisations really want.
The basic knowledge is there, as many organisational surveys will show. Take a study from the Enterprise Security Group (ESG) released in October in terms of ransomware preparedness. Respondents cited network security (43%), backup infrastructure security (40%), endpoint (39%), email (36%) and data encryption (36%) as key prevention areas. Many security vendors offer this and much more – but how difficult is it to filter out the noise?
“People understand they need an endpoint solution, and an email security solution. There’s a lot of competitors out there and they’re all shouting about different things,” says Paterson. “So it’s really getting down to the nitty gritty of what they actually need as a business. That’s where we at VIPRE try to make it as easy as possible for clients.
“A lot of companies do EDR at the moment, but what we’ve tried to do is get it down to the raw elements that every business will need, and maybe not all the bells and whistles that probably 99% of organisations aren’t going to need,” Paterson adds.
“We’re very much a company that puts a lot of emphasis on our clients and partners, where we treat everyone as an individual business. We get a lot of comments [from customers] that some of the biggest vendors in there just treat them as a number.”
Paterson is speaking at the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Global, in London on December 1-2 around the rising threat of ransomware, and how the security industry evolves alongside this threat. Having a multi-layered approach will be a cornerstone of Paterson’s message, and his advice to businesses is sound.
“Take a closer look at those areas, those threat vectors, the way that they are coming into the business, and make sure that you are putting those industry-level systems in place,” he says. “A lot of businesses can get complacent and just continue renewing the same thing over and over again, without realising there are new features and additions. Misdelivery of email is a massive one – I would say the majority of businesses don’t have anything in place for it.
“Ask ‘where are the risk areas for your business?’ and understand those more, and then make sure to put those protection layers in place to help with things like ransomware attacks and other elements.”
Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.
Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.
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