How AI & Blockchain Are Improving Online Security

2017 was a concerning year in the way of cybersecurity, with countless cyber-attacks creeping up across a number of different industries. A data breach at Uber saw 57 million records stolen for a ransom of $100,000, the Deep Root Analytics data breach saw the personal information of 198 million US voters’ information put out onto an unsecured cloud server and, of course, the WannaCry cyber-attack saw 300,000 computer systems infected in just four days, including NHS systems in the UK. Simply put, we need improvements and artificial intelligence and the blockchain are proving to give us exactly that – but how? We’re taking a more in depth look below.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence, by definition, is the simulation of human intelligence by a machine and in particular, a computer. AI has the potential to learn behaviours, process information using a set of programmed rules, learn reasoning not unlike that of a human, and self-correction. With improvements constantly being introduced to the market, it’s clear that we’re learning more and more about artificial intelligence and what it can do for our lives overall. AI is already available on a consumer market, in the form of smart cars, customer service chat bots, video games and smart home appliances like home hubs and smart thermostats.

What is Blockchain?

Understanding the blockchain isn’t actually as difficult as some may think. In essence, blockchain technology is the foundations in which cryptocurrencies can be used, but there’s more to the technology than just monetary transactions. Blockchain is a digital ledger containing all transactions that have taken place with a cryptocurrency – but it’s not just limited to financial transactions. Contracts and other exchanges of data could also be passed over and stored in a blockchain. Big names like Intel and NVIDIA are competing in both blockchain and AI fields, which adds further credibility and potential for growth in these two markets.

Blockchain is also practically incorruptible through its decentralised nature, making it impossible to bring down or commit fraud on the network as it’s hosted across thousands of computers, potentially worldwide. This incorruptible security could very well be the answer to cybersecurity. The question that remains is how?

How Could They Improve Security?

With the sheer number of data breaches in recent years, businesses need to protect themselves online more than ever before. Blockchain and AI are proving to help provide a solution. Blockchain, for example, is the best cryptographic ledger available and could provide brand new ways for business to conduct transactions between themselves and consumers, and with other businesses. Blockchain addresses some of the most fundamental of flaws when it comes to online security all by automating some elements of transactions and data storage that could otherwise suffer from human error pitfalls. End-to-end encryption ensures optimal security and the anonymous nature of the network – all users are given a ‘key’ rather than needing to enter their personal details – helps to eliminate any weaknesses that could be exploited.

Similarly, AI and its resulting machine learning are making tasks much more streamlined and efficient while, once again, taking out the risk of human error. Companies have the ability to not only conduct tasks without the need for human input, but they can also quickly detect, analyse and solve potential exploits or weaknesses. AI learns from these instances and so the longer an AI is utilised within a business, the more it will learn about the business activity, the potential risks and just what the best way to reduce these risks might be.

What Sectors Are Demanding Maximum Security?

Every industry nowadays has at least some element of technology involved and so the answer to the question above is technically ‘all of them’. However, there are a few in particular demanding improvements more than others.

Governments across the globe are constantly under fire from hackers, fraudsters and cyberattacks among many other breaches, particularly from terrorists as of late and as a result, security needs to be improved. They hold a large volume of confidential and sensitive information that needs to be kept under wraps, but the world can barely go a month without hearing of some kind of data leak. A key example of this is the US office of Personnel Management data breach which occurred between 2012 and 2014. Personal information of approximately 22 million former and current federal employees was stored inside the OPM and hackers managed to exfiltrate the personal data with some even managing to obtain security clearance information and fingerprint data.

Similarly, the gambling and online gaming industry is another one that needs improved security measures and an element of transparency to make games much fairer and less prone to fraud. From improvements in data security for payment methods and personal information, to the increasing spread of provably fair gameplay in online casinos, this industry is on its way to improving but a little extra security never hurt. Provably fair gaming is one area that is being introduced as a result of blockchain technology with a number of Bitcoin casinos across the web offering this form of gaming, particularly for dice games. Provably fair gaming allows players to confirm the fairness of a game, making sure that the games themselves cannot be manipulated by the operators, game providers, or owners of the platform. With blockchain technology, all transactions will be recorded on a public ledger, meaning no manipulation can take place and the gaming process is completely transparent. With many online gamers looking to turn to this type of technology in order to ensure they are getting the most for their money and to ensure their gaming is completely secure, it’ll be no surprise to see more online casinos adopt this technology.

Finally, financial services are certainly in need of improved security. We all make payments online, but most of us will click straight out of a site that looks even the slightest bit untrustworthy. This is a smart move in a sense, but it’s also a sign that we need improved security when it comes to our online payments. With online shopping and payments making up a good chunk of our financial activity, there is no room for error when it comes to our data and the safety of our money, and so the potential of AI and blockchain truly is huge in this sector. The transparency of the public ledger which stores each and every transaction is the key to secure financial transactions. In addition to the security on offer with blockchain which can help to avoid any form of human error as well as protect against hacking, the blockchain, alongside other technologies can also help to minimise the amount of fees for both the institution and for customers while also improving the speed of transactions around the globe.

The improvements these technologies could make in the way of security are huge and constant improvements are making it more likely than ever. The true nature of our cybersecurity in the future lies in these innovations, so make sure to watch this space!

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