The cyber security market is growing at a rapid pace. According to research firms like Cybersecurity Ventures and Markets and Markets, the cyber security market will be worth over US$200 billion within the next five years. Former Facebook and Coinbase Director of Security Ryan McGeehan believes bitcoin companies will lead defensive innovation and the cyber security market soon.
In early November, non-profit and non-governmental human rights organization Amnesty International released a paper on privacy protection. Researchers at Amnesty analyzed and evaluated the world’s most popular social media messengers to categorize applications solely based on security measures.
Poor Security Measures of Leading Companies
Amnesty International heavily criticized some of the most popular messengers including Skype, Snapchat, QQ and Google Hangouts for failing to provide end-to-end encryption. That means, upon the requests of law enforcement or other agencies, the abovementioned platforms could provide crucial user data and messages.
While privacy is important to users, platform security should be at utmost importance for a company. If a platform like Skype for instance, fails to encrypt its infrastructure, data can be stolen, platform be hacked and user information can be compromised.
Over the past two years, some of the largest industries including telecommunication and healthcare industries suffered from major hacking attacks and data thefts, leaving users to question the legitimacy of security protocols and encryption systems utilized by today’s leading companies.
McGeehan, a security expert who collaborated with multi-billion dollar companies in the past, firmly believes that bitcoin companies will lead defensive innovation in the near future, mostly due to their expertise and experience in dealing with some of the most sophisticated and complex forms of cryptography.
Importance of Cryptographic Proof
As McGeehan explains in his report entitled “Evidence of Absence,” there exists one major difference between bitcoin companies and other firms. That is, bitcoin companies these days have the ability to ensure users with absolute certainty that their funds haven’t been stolen. If stolen, development teams will be able to provide exact timestamps and methods utilized to steal their funds. However, companies relying on conventional security systems can’t provide details to security or hacking attempts with certainty.
McGeehan states that bitcoin companies are able to provide definite responses to inquiries regarding hacking attacks and data theft because of cryptographic proof. The cryptographic systems and methods utilized by bitcoin startups provide platform operators with a unique version of the observer effect, which notifies the company immediately if an intrusion occurs.
The existence of cryptographic proof could also serve bitcoin companies as a disadvantage as it publicizes any successful intrusions or data breaches. For instance, if a bitcoin wallet platform or exchange is hacked, the public would immediately be informed and the startup would most likely be condemned by the community.
“This cuts two ways: We hear about every serious bitcoin breach. A bitcoin company breach is highly visible on the blockchain. Stealth intrusions do not exist when key material becomes involved. Long lasting, stealthy intrusions are common and expected at every other type of company. If content (emails, passwords, photos) had this same property, how many more breaches would we hear about?,” said McGeehan.
Breaches They Didn’t Even Know About
Consider Yahoo, a popular multi-billion dollar internet company for example. The company’s data theft which occurred in 2014 came to light this past September. The company either hid the information for over two years, or didn’t know about the data breach. If the latter is the case, it becomes even a larger problem for users as it means that the company failed to detect a breach that resulted in the theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts’ information.
However, because bitcoin startups still continue to use cryptographic security measures to protect user funds, substantially less hacking attacks occur in the digital currency space. The utilization of cryptographic proof allows companies to become resilient to previous hacking attacks and makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to platforms.
“We did not suffer any game ending key material breach during my time at Coinbase. I know this because there is cryptographic proof on the blockchain of that track record. Coinbase is still in business. This characteristic doesn’t measure other types of incident (phishing, malware, social engineering, etc) but a game ending breach was entirely measurable and didn’t happen,” added McGeehan.
If similar cryptographic methods can implemented in conventional platforms and applications, major industries such as health care, real estate, insurance, finance and telecommunications could benefit from significantly fewer cases of security breaches.
Do you think bitcoin companies will lead defensive innovation and cyber security market in the future? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Facebook, InternetisBeautiful
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