IBM, an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Armonk has won a patent for blockchain based network security system. The patent was awarded on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It was first filed in September 2017, reported Coindesk.
According to the secured event monitoring leveraging blockchain patent, a computer program product for a monitor security process is given. It includes monitors in a chain configuration by configuring a network address of a primary monitor to a backup monitor. It also provides a sensor to communicate with the monitors. The present invention may include receiving a first set of information from the sensor to a primary and backup monitor and broadcasting the information to a plurality of monitors and logging the information.
The patent further explains that
On a computer system or network, data may be monitored for many different purposes. Data monitoring may identify problems, observe conditions or track metrics by logging the events of a given computer system or network.
Securing a data log using monitor security protocols may be achieved with various levels of security, starting from low security to high security, and have multiple combinations of hardware and software configurations. Low security may enable open access to the event logs while high security may notably restrict access to the event logs. Securing the monitored system from hackers obtaining access to alter the event logs may need a new type of security configuration.
The patent further highlights that by using a network of monitors connected to a blockchain platform can log events on the network. Due to this, the potential intrusions can also be monitored and detected. Hackers may try to hide signs of their activity on one monitor but multiple backups of that data will help ensure that such events are still logged.
The patent states that
Hackers gaining access to a computer network event log may alter past events or set the event log to ignore future threats. Protecting the network from people gaining read and write access to an event log may create a more secure computing environment that may protect the network from outside threats.
Following is the detailed explanation of a problem and its solution given by IBM:
Problem: For example, a hacker who hacks a company’s centralized monitor is able to handle problems within a whole enterprise network. Once hacked, the monitor may be blinded from the threats, not recognize threats that are occurring and may not be able to secure the vulnerability in the network.
Solution: IBM elaborated that a monitor may be vulnerable to threats in a situation where a company uses one monitor device to monitor a whole enterprise network. In an enterprise network, if a problem occurs in a particular region of the network, then the monitor can submit the issue and the company can handle the problem. But if one monitor is hacked then it is difficult for any company to detect vulnerabilities or threats in the enterprise network. Due to this, a hacker can gain control of a monitor to clean up past events or configure the monitor system to ignore future threats.
This can be avoided by creating a monitor network with monitors and configuring sensors to report duplicate data to more than one monitor in the monitor network simultaneously, thereby detecting possible hacks due to mismatched data.
If there are more monitors in a system network then it will be difficult for attackers to hack and alter an event log. If synchronized monitors are configured in a blockchain configuration then it will create a consensus among the monitors. Since one monitor alone cannot alter the event log in the past or cannot fake the event log in the future if one monitor is hacked, then there may be no consensus among the synchronized monitors and the event may not get written into the log.
The multiple reporting sensors may be utilized to allow consensus among the monitors for the received events before the received events get written into the log. The sensors allow consensus by communicating the same data to more than one monitor so when the monitors are authenticating any data and if the data received for a specific event or transaction differs then only one monitor will get compromised.
This is not the first time IBM is using blockchain technology. In September 2018, IBM had launched the Blockchain World Wire payment system. It is a stellar based blockchain payment which can simultaneously clear and settle cross-border payments in near real-time. In short, Blockchain World Wire will allow for an instant clearing and settlement of all transactions using Stellar’s blockchain network.