IBM Wants You to Know Blockchain Can Go Wrong


For IBM’s senior management consultant in the biometrics and cybersecurity division for Global Business Services, Adewale Omoniyi, it’s crucial that clients take the necessary steps to ensure protection for their investments, especially as more blockchain technologies come close to live launches.

In a recent event hosted by tech educator Decoded, Omoniyi brought to light the important task that their team is carrying out regarding this new technological development. For him, it’s important to now focus on identifying and establishing best business practices, especially those tools that will be concerned with handling this particular kind of technology.

For his part, Ominiyi has already reportedly worked on building blockchain-based cybersecurity assurance applications for use cases, as in digital identity and supply chain. From what he’s done so far, he’s learned and confirmed that not because a system is difficult to hack doesn’t mean it cannot be hacked at all.

“Fundamentally, we keep saying that blockchain ins’t a panacea. Security is often always an afterthought, but because of the foundational basis of the technology, there needs to be a depth of defense and building controls in every layer of the application.”

He also addressed the recent slate of hackings into cryptocurrency systems, all the way from Mt. Gox to the phishing of the BitPay exec’s account. He said, “There isn’t a one-size fits all. It’s not just about using one tool, but multiple layers.”

Both Omoniyi and the host of the event, Amadeus Stevenson, CTO of Decoded, mentioned several of the hacks that have happened involving the technology to date, albeit with a heavy focus on cryptocurrencies.

From Mt. Gox to The DAO hack, to the Parity frozen funds, to a BitPay executive getting phished, the session saw discussion of how many layers of complexity there are in blockchain systems, and how it would be easy to overlook one of the other.

“There isn’t a one size fits all. It’s not just about using one tool, but multiple layers,” Omoniyi said.

The topic of security becomes more important now than ever, especially with enterprise clients, because “we’re talking about real assets, real credentials. This isn’t proofs-of-concept and it’s not cryptocurrenceies; enterprises take [security] more seriously because they’re working with really sensitive information.”

That is why for those enterprise blockchains about to go live, this is the best time to really factor in and act on security. The potential for a hack is still very much high, and it could prevent the technology from further developing as it should.

At the end of the day, however, Omoniyi simply couldn’t contain his excitement for the new technology. “Change is constant. You can’t fear technology.”

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