What is Blockchain?

Blockchain: today’s revolutionary technology and the backbone of Bitcoin. Blockchain has recently gained the attention of countless individuals, from banks and governments to fishermen and farmers.

Accepted as one of the most powerful technologies yet, Blockchain stores records with facts verified by everyone through a network of computers, which means it is not only decentralized but is also disturbed. It is not owned by one person, each Blockchain gets automatically downloaded on every node or computer. Using “blocks” of information which are connected or chained to another in chronological order, allows everyone to use it, help run it, and see changes made to it. As everyone can see exactly where an unauthorized change was made and requires them to validate it, it is harder to edit and corrupt. Hackers must access all the computers at the same time and make the exact same change in each node or computer to hack the data.

That means security is guaranteed, right?

Not necessarily. Blockchain has many potential vulnerabilities.

In March 2015, Interpol demonstrated one of these vulnerabilities using the bitcoin network and communicated with a hacker-controlled bitcoin address, extracting information on transaction receipts and introducing unrelated date to transaction into the Blockchain. This unrelated data could be anything, from illegal files to malware.

The Blockchain can thus be repurposed to spread malware, because data is automatically downloaded to all computers which use Blockchain, the malware will not only spread but is also almost impossible to remove as all computers will need to verify this change. A user in 2013 uploaded child pornography sites to the Blockchain, and everyone using Bitcoin had links to this on their computer and they were unable to get rid of it.

Another vulnerability of decentralised and disturbed information is the fact there will be multiple replicates on various computers, meaning it will offer hackers more places to attack. This is problematic when it comes to sensitive information like contracts.

While Blockchain might provide new ways for information security and cutting out the middle man, it can also be repurposed to benefit nefarious activities.

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