Although blockchain technology is still more readily associated with Bitcoin and the world of cryptocurrency today, its prospective use cases stretch way beyond digital finance. As we become more dependent on sharing data and browsing on our smartphones, distributed digital ledgers appear set to be a revolutionary solution for keeping our handsets safe from the prying eyes of cybercriminals as instances of cybercrime continue to gather momentum.
Blockchain is already making its presence felt in the world of smartphones. While as recently as 2017 there were no blockchain handsets on the market, now we’re seeing examples of powerful devices that incorporate the technology to securely store digital wallets for users.
For instance, we’ve seen the arrival of the Sirin Labs Finney U1 in recent years, which has leveraged blockchain to create a built-in cold storage crypto wallet, as well as a network of embedded decentralized apps for users to tap into. This hardened layer of security means that users can rest assured that their cryptocurrency portfolios are safe from external threats.
As the chart above shows, monthly cyber attacks have increased in comparison to 2019 and 2018 figures, with the gap appearing to widen following the implementation of global lockdown measures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rise of working from home and a greater reliance on smartphone devices for entertainment during the age of social distancing has led to more of us depending on our smartphones. As a result, it’s vital that a greater emphasis is placed on protecting the private information of users and keeping them safe online.
The Role Blockchain will Play in the Future of Smartphones
Blockchain technology offers users greater levels of control over their data and browsing behaviour. Its comprehensive levels of security can help to enable smartphone owners to use techniques like social recovery to access their data should their handset become lost. It’s also possible for users to blacklist the International Mobile station Equipment Identity number (IMEI) for any missing device – helping to keep information as safe as possible on their phones, wherever they may be.
The future is certainly bright for blockchain, and the technology’s biggest fans believe that it’ll pave the way for a fully decentralized world wide web. This brand new era for online functionality could enable the support of decentralized applications – or DApps – which would operate on peer-to-peer public networks, rather than private corporate servers.
Because the data that’s stored on blockchains are immutable, it may even help to physically redevelop smartphones as we know them today. SIM cards could soon be replaced by blockchain-based virtual SIMs, which can set users up with their own unique accounts for using their devices. In fact, Verizon recently gained a patent for the development of a system that uses blockchain technology to create these ‘vSIMs’
Fighting Fraud on the Ledger
One key challenge facing blockchain cybersecurity measures is the fact that fraud can still theoretically be recorded on the chain. Decentralized cybersecurity can acknowledge every transaction made, but it can’t confirm that it was intended.
If a hacker gains access to your private key and transfers $10,000 from your account, there may be no way of proving that the attacker performed the action instead of you. However, blockchain can combine with other emerging technologies to deliver more comprehensive layers of security for all.
One advanced solution, called Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) may offer a revolutionary solution against fraud in a way that perfectly combines with blockchain technology. One time passwords and sign-in passwords can be nightmarish for mobile app users and browsers, but blockchain enables SSI-based digital sign-in credentials that instantly give the user access to the app they wish to enter. Data breaches are rendered impossible due to users being gained passwordless access to the app in what’s a highly advanced authentication system.
SSI works by establishing a peer-to-peer channel between ID issuer, ID owner, and ID verifier. When credentials are exchanged, not even the SSI provider has the ability to see what’s being exchanged. This makes credential issuing far faster and fully tamper-proof through cryptography – with users retaining full control through Selective Identity disclosure technology.
Blockchain also operates well with VPN technology, which naturally helps to protect the anonymity of users online by establishing fully encrypted connections to various servers. By combining virtual private networks with blockchain technology, users may be able to enjoy the security of immutable blockchains while ensuring that their passwords aren’t compromised when using public WiFi networks.
Today, there’s already a wide range of resourceful VPN services that specialize in catering to smartphones, so it’s a technology that’s ready to be refined in a blockchain-driven world.
As we become more dependent on our smartphones to work and consume content, it’s imperative that we make more of an effort in keeping the data we share and send online secure. Blockchain technology will evolve to become a natural solution in protecting smart devices from the threat of cybercriminals. Despite instances of cyber attacks increasing in recent years, the arrival of blockchain means that the future appears to be bright for smartphone security.