Events

Ed Drake

Dr. Craig Wright discusses personal device security on blockchain

nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright has addressed the scope for more effective personal device security through cryptography and the blockchain, in a presentation at a prestigious industry conference in London.

Dr. Wright presented his thesis at the International Conference on Information and Computer Technologies (ICICT) 2019, to a packed room of leading academics at Brunel University.

In the presentation, he explained that cryptographic solutions to personal device security could deliver substantial improvements in security, reducing the scope for device hacking and providing more effective defenses for smartphones and tablets.

According to Dr. Wright, one of the primary advantages of blockchain device security is the ability to record immutable logs, effectively preventing hackers from operating anonymously.

Hackers rely on the ability to delete logs, covering their tracks to allow deeper access into internal systems—a process which often unfolds over a protracted time period. This is made impossible with logs immutably recorded on the blockchain, which can be used to trace the origins of hacks to a device, with no opportunity for cover-up or data manipulation.

He also explained how private/public key pairs could be used in ECDSA personal device security, robustly protecting against unauthorized access through multiple authentication factors. This could be adapted to allow devices such as laptops and smartphones to automatically verify and authenticate users based on blockchain data.

Dr. Wright explained that this could even be achieved without an exchange of data, eliminating the potential for ‘man in the middle’ style hacks and eavesdropping through encryption and decryption.

Many of the features raised in the presentation can be implemented with standard functions, with OP_RETURN transactions an example of how this type of personal device security can be executed on the bitcoin blockchain.

Brunel University becomes the latest high profile institution to host Dr. Wright, coinciding with another recent presentation at the University of Oxford. His recent presentations have covered topics including how legal contracts can be handled on the blockchain and the scalability of bitcoin to 3 billion transactions/second.

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