Since the rise of the internet, big data is becoming the bedrock of the economy. Billions of decisions are being made everyday based on data. Not only is it evident that appropriate security measures are not in place, those that do attempt to secure their data pose little deterrence to cyber attackers.
Osterman Research conducted a database security study in 2016. The analyst firm discovered that 47 percent of the responding enterprises had not assigned a dedicated team or individual to database security. 59 percent of respondents lacked a high degree of certainty regarding which applications, users and clients were accessing their databases.
When respondents were asked which database security issues were of most concern, over half admitted that it was compromised credentials. The second biggest concern was the potential for major data breaches and the inability to identify them until it was too late.
“39 percent of organizations surveyed lack the necessary tools to allow them to identify a database breach resulting from compromised or abused credentials.”
- Osterman Research
Global technology company Nuix recently released a report based on the survey of 70 professional hackers and penetration testers attending Defcon, the world’s largest hacking and security conference.
The study revealed that more than eight in 10 hackers are able to break through cyber security defences, access IT systems and steal data within 24 hours. This ease of access to data has given way to a new form of fear in cyberspace referred to as data manipulation.
“All of our data is at risk—from individual hackers, nation states, organized crime, and even malicious insiders,” states Nuix. “This message has been repeated so many times in the media and cybersecurity industry reports, it has virtually become a cliché.”
Retired Gen. Keith Alexander described data manipulation as an “emerging art of war in cyberspace.” The former joint leader of NSA and U.S. Cyber Command highlighted the importance of accurate data in health records and military intelligence. A soldier mapping a battlefield digitally could find out that, “the brigade that you're focusing on is not really there."
John Moynihan, President the Massachusetts cybersecurity consultancy Minuteman Governance, says that the threat of a coordinated data manipulation campaign is a reality that has the potential to overwhelm a far wider range of critical industries, and disrupt the economic and social fabric of the United States: “Unfortunately, many organizations have yet to implement the basic safeguards necessary to swiftly detect this type of electronic attack and therefore remain totally unprepared to prevent the consequences.”
“It’s time for those who maintain our most confidential data to take the steps necessary to protect against this emerging threat by deploying more robust detection measures and implementing an ongoing monitoring program.”
- John Moynihan, CGEIT, CRISC, President of Minuteman Governance
MyBit Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ian Worrall, also has concerns, “Once someone gets into the system, they have access to everything.” When defences have been breached, an affected application is typically taken offline. Analysts can then conduct a system audit, identify the extent of the damage, and attempt to resolve the issue. “This is unsecure, inefficient, and not something anyone wants to deal with,” said Worrall.
MyBit is a decentralised asset management platform designed with data manipulation in mind. The platform records the ownership, registration, and transfer of assets ranging from property, cars, drones, designer apparel, art and anything else of value.
Worrall states that the majority of the platforms core functionality could be built with common technologies available today, but to secure these systems would be costly and difficult. However, MyBit leverages various cutting edge blockchain technologies.
Blockchains are often described as distributed databases, and maintain a growing list of ordered records, known as blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and is irrefutably connected to the prior block. This technology is inherently resistant to data manipulation. Once the data is confirmed, it cannot be changed.
No one, centralized, party holds blockchain data, it’s distributed through a decentralized network of peers. In order for a hacker to access or manipulate the stored information, they would need to gain access to over 50 percent of the network’s connected devices simultaneously.
Governments have already discovered several use cases for blockchains, states Worrall. Paper land titles are one example. “When Haiti was hit by the 2010 earthquake, the municipal buildings containing paper records such as land titles were destroyed,” states the CEO. “This is a prime example of a vulnerable, single-point-of-failure system.”
Moving paper records to decentralized blockchains, and attaching ownership of assets to people’s blockchain-based identities can put governments in a far better position to preserve a citizen's claim to assets, increasing confidence in those governments and economies.
“MyBit revolutionizes asset management by enabling the secure administration of ownership via a decentralized, golden source ledger. It effectively removes single point of failure risk, reliance on third-party escrow agents, and much of the friction in traditional systems.”
At the database level, MyBit intends to use BigchainDB, a scalable blockchain database, supporting a wide range of industries and use cases. The platform alsu uses the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a peer-to-peer protocol designed to replace HTTP.
The Bitcoin blockchain is earmarked as the ledger for storing transactional data, as it’s the oldest, most secure, and trusted blockchain. Ethereum provides the platform’s engine for smart contract logic, the backbone of the platform.
“We extend the functionality of MyBit to enable the transfer of ownership between users to streamline peer to peer commerce and offer Smart Trusts as a flexible tool to secure ownership as you desire,” Worrall explains. Smart Trusts are governed by irrefutable computer code, and make the process much cleaner, more affordable, and ultimately manageable.
MyBit’s core functionality can be extended to use cases across many verticals. Insurance products and back-office management, authenticated marketplaces, universal rating systems, auditing, compliance, and analytics, and lastly, medical device management.
“Smart Trust technology makes it easier and exponentially more cost-effective for people to secure their assets in Trusts and Wills.”
The adoption of blockchain technology is now well underway. Everledger is also utilising the Ethereum blockchain. The UK startup launched in 2015, and created a platform designed to tackle fraud and theft in the diamond industry.
Everledger built a global, digital ledger that tracks and protects valuable assets throughout their lifetime journey. The data consisted of characteristics, history, and ownership, and is securely recorded on the blockchain. “This digital incarnation, or thumbprint, is used by various stakeholders across a supply chain pipeline to form provenance and verify authenticity,” states the company.
Opensource protocol Melonport also makes use of the Ethereum platform. The platform enables participants to set up, manage, and invest in digital asset management strategies, in a transparent, competitive and decentralised way. A live working version is expected in late 2017 or early 2018.
The core software will be able to support trading multiple tokens through a single interface. Add-on modules will allow for features such as price feeds, Know-Your-Customer compliance and risk calculations. Within ten minutes of starting its token sale, Melonport raised US $3 million.
MyBit will also be raising funds to develop their platform, in a crowdsale starting on March 24th. Interested parties will be able to purchase ‘bits’ with a variety of different cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum’s fuel, Ether. One Ether will be the equivalent of 250 MyBit bits.
Worrall explained that raising capital through tokens issued in a crowdsale is a must for a fully decentralised application. “It also protects platform users from a centralized investor raising prices or otherwise altering the pricing model to not be in favour of the users. By being decentralized users must all agree through consensus of any major structural change to pricing, or other impactful component. This creates a truly democratized and fair application.”
The token used in the crowdfund will enable access to the platform for registering assets, transferring ownership, generating smart trusts to manage assets, issuing investment vehicles, and token holders receive profit sharing based on their stake percentage for all incoming platform revenues.