The U.K.'s largest internet and telecoms provider has been awarded a patent for a proposed cybersecurity measure aimed at protecting blockchains.
In the patent, awarded on Oct. 31, British Telecommunications PLC (BT) outlined a method designed to prevent malicious attacks on blockchains – outlining a way to limit who can commit transactions to the system through user-specific profiles. The blockchain's underlying code would then be able to automatically reject transactions which do not match the pre-described accounts.
One example use case outlined by the patent includes "majority control attacks" (also called "51 percent attacks"), where a hostile force with more than 50 percent of the total computing power tries to control a blockchain network.
According to the patent:
"Despite the architecture of blockchain systems, malicious attacks present a threat to the security and reliability of blockchains."
When an attack is detected, the system will automatically stop conducting transactions, preventing even a majority attack from being effective, according to the patent.
The patent further cites include distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which are designed to completely overwhelm a miner with an excessive number of transaction requests.
BT does not address how it would deal with such attacks, however it does state that "it would be advantageous to provide a mechanism for detecting and mitigating threats to blockchain environments."
While the patent discusses the method of verifying transactions through the energy-intensive mining process employed by digital currencies like bitcoin, BT notes that the process is unrelated to the patented system.
BT Tower image via Shutterstock