IBM Wins Patent for Blockchain-Based Network Security System

A newly published IBM patent proposes bolstering network security by monitoring potential network intrusions on a blockchain.

AccessTimeIconOct 3, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:26 a.m. UTC
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A new patent awarded to tech giant IBM highlights how blockchain tech might play a role in monitoring security breaches within computer networks.

First filed in September 2017 and awarded Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the patent outlines how a network of monitors connected to a blockchain platform can log events on the network, including potential intrusions. While attackers may try to hide signs of their work on one monitor, having multiple backups of that information will help ensure that such events are still logged, according to IBM.

"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," the patent states. Securing such data is critical for a company.

To that end, Big Blue notes that companies may set up a system of devices to monitor attempted intrusions on the distributed network, using node consensus to flag any irregularities.

The patent explains:

"Having synchronized monitors set up in a blockchain configuration ensures 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 sensors allow consensus by passing the same information to more than one monitor. When monitors are validating information, if data for an event or transaction does not match, then one monitor may have been compromised.

In such an event, this "may alert the monitor security program of inconsistent data," which in turn warns the system administrators that there is an issue.

Using blockchain technology to highlight irregularities in this way, would therefore "create a less vulnerable network" according to IBM.

IBM image via JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock

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