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Blockchain Privacy Concerns

Fraud And Privacy Problems On The Blockchain

Fraud And Privacy Problems On The Blockchain

Fraud and privacy problems on the blockchain As potentially useful as blockchains can become, companies must recognize the potential for fraud and the threat to privacy posed by fraud countermeasures. Use commas to separate multiple email addresses The blockchain technology that drives the Bitcoin economy is essentially a decentralized, immutable database of transactions open for anyone to view and validated by a distributed collective of verifiers. The purpose of its design is to ensure that no one can alter any past transaction record. From a purely technical perspective, blockchains accomplish this goal very effectively. This all sounds great so far but the technology has a severe weakness that, until comprehensively addressed, will make blockchain applications very costly in terms of fraud, theft, and legal jeopardy. There are ways to solve the fraud problem but some solutions will introduce another problem. The fraud weakness lies at the transaction endpoints. By the term endpoint I mean the boundary between physical space, where living, breathing human beings exist, and cyber-space, where the blockchain databases reside. The endpoint is where physical space users interact with the cyber-space blockchain. [ Learn about top security certifications: Who they're for, what they cost, and which you need . | Get the latest from CSO by signing up for our newsletters . ] Any legitimate, non-fraudulent blockchain transaction is dependent on trust between two or more counterparties. The foundation of trust is that counterparties are absolutely certain of the physical-space identities of all those involved in a transaction. In the blockchain scheme, a human being occupying physical space is represented in cyber-space by a public identifier which helps others find the persons Continue reading >>

Bitcoin Transactions Arent As Anonymous As Everyone Hoped

Bitcoin Transactions Arent As Anonymous As Everyone Hoped

Bitcoin Transactions Arent as Anonymous as Everyone Hoped Web merchants routinely leak data about purchases. And that can make it straightforward to link individuals with their Bitcoin purchases, say cybersecurity researchers. An increasing number of online merchants now offer the ability to pay using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. One of the great promises of this technology is anonymity: the transactions are recorded and made public, but they are linked only with an electronic address. So whatever you buy with your bitcoins, the purchase cannot be tracedspecifically to you. This is handy for some, but the anonymity is by no means perfect. Security experts call it pseudonymous privacy, like writing books under a nom de plume. You can preserve your privacy as long as the pseudonym is not linked to you. But as soon as somebody makes the link to one of your anonymous books, the ruse is revealed. Your entire writing history under your pseudonym becomes public. Similarly, as soon as your personal details are linked to your Bitcoin address, your purchase history is revealed too. That raises an important question for people hoping to use Bitcoin to make anonymous purchases: how easy is it to link them with their Bitcoin transactions? Today we get an answer thanks to the work of Steven Goldfeder at Princeton University and a number of pals. These guys say the way information leaks during ordinary purchases makes it straightforward to link individuals with the Bitcoin transactions they make, even when purchasers use additional privacy protections, such as CoinJoin. The main culprits are Web trackers and cookiessmall pieces of code deliberately embedded into websites that send information to third parties about the way people use the site. Common Web trackers send information to G Continue reading >>

Privacy On The Blockchain

Privacy On The Blockchain

In this series, Ill discuss the privacy trade-offs of public blockchains: what can and cant be done today, why privacy on the blockchain matters, and popular approaches to ensuring privacy in todays applications. In 2009, a person or group of people named Satoshi Nakamoto published Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. If you havent already, give it a read . The Bitcoin design was revolutionary it elegantly tied cryptography, game theory, and economics into a trustless solution to the double-spend problem, and introduced the world to the first chain of blocks, a censorship-resistant public ledger protected by proof-of-work. This is a big deal. Unlike traditional payments, Bitcoin transactions dont rely on a trusted third-party. Anyone can connect to the network and transact, without fear of censorship. Satoshis work solved these problems, and founded the field of cryptoeconomics . In 2013, Vitalik Buterin proposed a new cryptocurrency Ethereum . Ethereum was Vitaliks answer to Bitcoins poor scripting capabilities. Instead of focusing on financial transactions and their outputs, Ethereum transactions are about state: agreeing on a computed state, and transitioning from one state to the next. Each transaction in Ethereum includes a sender, recipient, funds, and data, similar enough to Bitcoin. Unlike Bitcoin, however, a recipient can be a user or a smart contract. Smart contracts are cool. You can build complex financial services, and even self-governing organizations. Consider 0x , a decentralized exchange protocol, or Aragon , a governance layer for DAOs. Smart contracts can also provide a backend for user-facing decentralized applications (dApps). Think censorship-resistant Twitter . Todays blockchains hold the promise of more open, participatory systems. Bu Continue reading >>

Privacy Concerns Over Comcasts Blockchain Foray

Privacy Concerns Over Comcasts Blockchain Foray

Privacy Concerns Over Comcasts Blockchain Foray November 28, 2017, 12:06:04 PM EDT By Michael Scott, Distributed A recent patent submission by the telecom giant Comcast is certain to garner the attention of the blockchain community as well as privacy advocates. The filing suggests that the company is examining how to store customer viewing habits and identifying data on a blockchain-based database. Released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on November 9, this new patent application outlined two types of databases that would serve as a repository of customer information. One of these databases, according to the filing, would employ a blockchain-centric concept. In short, this database would hold private and identifying information of customers that's only accessible by authorized entities. In an effort to raise transparency, the proposed system would create a log of every time it is accessed. The second database, which would be distributed in nature but not explicitly on a blockchain, could house user location information, serving as a honeypot of customer data for entities seeking to access it. Comcast noted in its application that customers often take advantage of multiple systems and services, from websites like Hulu to traditional televisions and access programming. It aims to capture and evaluate consumer viewing habits across myriad platforms, creating a capture point for this information. While this application marks a first for Comcast, it is not the company's only foray into the blockchain world. This summer, Comcast joined a partnerships with Disney, NBCUniversal, Cox Communications, Mediaset Italia, Channel 4 and TF1 with the intent of creating a new blockchain-based advertising platform. Joshua A. T. Fairfield, an internationally recognized law and te Continue reading >>

Privacy On The Blockchain

Privacy On The Blockchain

Blockchains are a powerful technology, as regular readers of the blog already likely agree. They allow for a large number of interactions to be codified and carried out in a way that greatly increases reliability, removes business and political risks associated with the process being managed by a central entity, and reduces the need for trust. They create a platform on which applications from different companies and even of different types can run together, allowing for extremely efficient and seamless interaction, and leave an audit trail that anyone can check to make sure that everything is being processed correctly. However, when I and others talk to companies about building their applications on a blockchain, two primary issues always come up: scalability and privacy. Scalability is a serious problem; current blockchains, processing 3-20 transactions per second, are several orders of mangitude away from the amount of processing power needed to run mainstream payment systems or financial markets, much less decentralized forums or global micropayment platforms for IoT. Fortunately, there are solutions , and we are actively working on implementing a roadmap to making them happen. The other major problem that blockchains have is privacy. As seductive as a blockchains other advantages are, neither companies or individuals are particularly keen on publishing all of their information onto a public database that can be arbitrarily read without any restrictions by ones own government, foreign governments, family members, coworkers and business competitors. Unlike with scalability, the solutions for privacy are in some cases easier to implement (though in other cases much much harder), many of them compatible with currently existing blockchains, but they are also much less s Continue reading >>

Privacy On The Blockchain: Where Are We Headed?

Privacy On The Blockchain: Where Are We Headed?

Privacy on the Blockchain: Where Are We Headed? Dec 27, 2017 at 20:55 UTC|UpdatedDec 29, 2017 at 00:02 UTC Arianna Simpson is the founder and managing director of Autonomous Partners, a fund focused on cryptocurrencies and digital assets. She is also a venture partner at Crystal Towers Capital, a venture capital fund, and previously spent time at Facebook and BitGo. The following article is an exclusive contribution to CoinDesk's 2017 in Review . For all the claims that have been made over the years about bitcoin being a safe haven for criminals, it's becoming increasingly clear that capital flows on the blockchain aren't private. Bitcoin itself indexes poorly on both the anonymity and confidentiality fronts, as addresses offer pseudonymity at best, and balances are completely public. Companies like Elliptic and Chainalysis are building businesses around blockchain forensics, and as the network increases in value, incentives to track flows of capital only become stronger. The rising tide of awareness about this is largely responsible for the growth in privacy coins in 2017, many of which experienced meteoric price and transaction volume increases. To those new to the field, getting up to speed can feel like an onerous task, but it's important to remember we're still in the early days, andcatching up on the cutting-edge is as easy as familiarizing yourself with a handful of key issues and projects likely to be of interest in the months and years ahead There's never a shortage of ideological differences in the world of cryptocurrencies. As it relates to privacy, one of the biggest is whether or not techniques that keep data from being shared should be default. Emblematic of this issue are two of the sector's biggest coins - monero and zcash. Of the two, monero offers pri Continue reading >>

Fin Identity, Privacy, And The Blockchain

Fin Identity, Privacy, And The Blockchain

In the offline world, identity and privacy are rather straightforward. Peoples identities are proven by simply being who they are, and privacy reflects the ability to control what others know about their identity. Occasionally, tangible objects such as drivers licenses or bills are required to verify identity with businesses or government entities. In the current interconnected and online world, we instead use various digital markers to demonstrate identity. These markers somehow prove we are who we say but are often only tangentially related to the service being accessed and require us to relinquish a significant amount of privacy. There are a number of problems with the current systems used as proxies for identity, but new technologies like blockchain might be able to help us reclaim our online (and offline) selves. Markers of identity are often required to be very personal pieces of data. Consider the litany of personal information collected when someone opens a checking account, such as street address and identification (drivers license or passport). Its easy to take these pieces of data for granted, as weve generally become accustomed to handing them over at the drop of a hat. But lets take a moment to consider what giving up these pieces of identity really means and whether its really necessary. In handing over a passport to a banker, a person gives the bank full permission to record not only their date and place of birth, but also everywhere he or she has traveled. This might not seem like a big deal, but what does place of birth really have to do with whether or not a bank allows someone to deposit money in their accounts? This isnt to say that banks shouldnt require identity verification; regulations like KYC and AML exist for a reason. However, because our cu Continue reading >>

Why Blockchain Alone Cannot Fix Privacy Issue

Why Blockchain Alone Cannot Fix Privacy Issue

Why Blockchain Alone Cannot Fix Privacy Issue Blockchain alone doesnt fix it - privacy can only be protected when all loopholes are closed, not with a single general technology. Privacy on Blockchain is one of the major features that attracts users towards the technology. Despite its decentralized nature and the ability for anyone to view every transaction or data transfer on Blockchain, encrypted communication prevents third party interference with messages sent across the technology. Privacy has become perhaps the most discussed topic in the lives of the average citizen across the entire world over the last decade. The revelations of Edward Snowden erased any doubt that we are living in a time where: Some people are willing to give up their freedom and liberty in exchange for the illusion of greater security and in reality, reduced privacy - Jason Cassidy, Co-Founder at Helium. Cassidy tells Cointelegraph that the advent of cryptographically secure currency has taken the power dynamic away from governments and banking institutions and put it back in the hands of the people . He notes that Bitcoin is pseudonymous and gives users some element of privacy and financial freedom . However, there are more privacy-centric currencies out there today like Monero that are gaining popularity for their ability to offer financial liberty. Governments are using terrorism as the rationale for spying on their citizens communications. Many people can see past this, realizing this is an excuse being pushed by governments to take advantage of a situation - gaining complete control over the citizenry's activities. Instead of addressing the problem at its root where terrorism is first created, they wish to weaken encryption of systems and make the entire world a more dangerous place to op Continue reading >>

Solving Blockchain's Privacy Problem

Solving Blockchain's Privacy Problem

An image of Bitcoin and US currencies is displayed on a screen as delegates listen to a panel of speakers during the Interpol World Congress in Singapore on July 4, 2017. Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images This article was originally published on International Business Times . Read the original article . Richard Gendal Brown, the chief technology officer at R3, believes IBM should adopt Corda, the shared ledger platform his engineering team has built for its 80-plus member banks. Brown, who was formerly executive architect for banking and financial markets at IBM and worked there for over 15 years before joining R3, does not make this statement lightly; it follows a close examination of the latest version of Hyperledger Fabric, the open source consortium platform which is IBM's preferred blockchain. Asked directly about IBM's position in the blockchain space, Brown said: "I think they are actually exercising their strategy pretty well. From a strategic perspective, I think they are doing all the right things. It may well not succeed but it's hard to fault them on that. Geneva Motor Show 2018: From High Performance Supercars to Wacky Robo-Vehicles and Everything In Between "I just don't think the technology is the right architecture. Fabric's design works for some things but actually it's fundamentally flawed in other areas. What they should do of course is adopt Corda; and we will happily work with them on that." First generation enterprise blockchains have taken the underlying design of Bitcoin and Ethereum and been met with the thorny problem of data privacy. Brown says there are basically two distinct ways to solve this. One is the Corda approach, which is doing data distribution on a case by case basisindividual deal, trade, balance, loan agreement etcsent only to thos Continue reading >>

Blockchain Will Rewire Security, Privacyand Business

Blockchain Will Rewire Security, Privacyand Business

Blockchain will rewire security, privacyand business Blockchain, the distributed-ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, is changing the concept of online security so profoundly that it will revolutionize the way we use the Internet, says Alex Tapscott, coauthor ofBlockchain Revolution. Rather than an "internet of information," the online world will become an "internet of transactions," in which security and authentication methods based on blockchain allow the automatic, secure exchange of information and money and the execution of contractswithout a bank, credit card company, or other intermediary to confirm identities and handle the money, said Tapscott. The lead author ofBlockchain Revolutionis his father,Don Tapscott, author of along listof future-shaping analyses of the potential for new technology, includingThe Digital Economy(1994) andParadigm Shift(1993). Blockchain allows identities to be confirmed and things of value, such as contracts or units of cryptocurrency, to be identified with records that can be easily audited to ensure they're authentic. Because of this, its influence will extend far beyond the market for Bitcoin, where it started, or the financial services markets, which are undergoing dramatic changes due to blockchain and cryptocurrencies , Tapscott said. Tamper-proof public databases that can confirm a document's authenticity without a notary involved, and the ability to avoid having to use and reconcile transactions through intermediaries, could save banks $20 billion per year by 2022, according to a recent report from the venture capital analyst arm of international banking conglomerateSantander. "On the Internet, when I send information, I'm not sending the actual document, I'm sending a copy of that document," Tapscott t Continue reading >>

Staying Anonymous On The Blockchain: Concerns And Techniques

Staying Anonymous On The Blockchain: Concerns And Techniques

Staying Anonymous on the Blockchain: Concerns and Techniques By Francisca Moreno and Shivangee Trivedi on Oct 11, 2017 With Bitcoin at one point valued at more than $5,000 per unit, cryptocurrencies have excited a lot of interest from individuals, businesses, and hackers. One of the selling points of Bitcoin and others of its type is anonymity. Yet there are concerns that online currency transactions may not be as anonymous as many wish. In this post, we will discuss several tools that make an effort to ensure anonymity with cryptocurrency transactions. A cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which encryption techniques regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, and that operates independently of a central bank. In other words, it is a decentralized, trustless money system that can be verified independent of any central authority. It does this using a blockchain, a list of open yet encrypted records. There are several flavors of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum the most widely used. Cryptocurrencies released after the success of Bitcoin are collectively called altcoins. The father of all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin requires the ledger, or record of transactions, to be available to everyonemaking all transactions public knowledge. For many, this raises anonymity and privacy concerns. In this article, we will examine some of the ways that the anonymity of cryptocurrencies has been addressed. Because a blockchain ledger is public, maintaining anonymity is hard, especially in the case of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is considered pseudoanonymous, which means a person may be linked to a public Bitcoin address, but not to an actual name or home address. You may know that an address is related to one person but you do not know to Continue reading >>

Blockchain: Background, Challenges And Legal Issues

Blockchain: Background, Challenges And Legal Issues

Blockchain: background, challenges and legal issues Blockchain and distributed ledger technology offers significant and scalableprocessing power, high accuracy rates, and apparently unbreakable securityat a significantly reduced cost compared to the traditional systems thetechnology could replace, such as settlement, trading or accountingsystems. Like all new technology however, it poses challenges for suppliersand customers. So what are the key issues in relation to blockchain anddistributed ledger technology? In its simplest form, blockchain is a decentralisedtechnology or distributed ledger on which transactionsare anonymously recorded. This means the transactionledger is maintained simultaneously across a networkof unrelated computers or servers called nodes, likea spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of timesacross a network of computers. The ledger containsa continuous and complete record (the chain) of alltransactions performed which are grouped into blocks:a block is only added to the chain if the nodes, whichare members in the blockchain network with high levelsof computing power, reach consensus on the next validblock to be added to the chain. A transaction can onlybe verified and form part of a candidate block if all thenodes on the network confirm that the transactionis valid. And in order to determine the validity of acandidate block, miner nodes compete to solve ahighly complex algorithm to verify it (on the BitcoinBlockchain this is known as the Proof of Work). Thefirst node to solve the algorithm and validate the blockshould be rewarded on the Bitcoin Blockchain thisreward takes the form of Bitcoins and this is referredto as mining for Bitcoins. Please see the diagram onpage 6 for further detail of this process. A block generally contains four piece Continue reading >>

Six Main Disadvantages Of Bitcoin And The Blockchain Kaspersky Lab Official Blog

Six Main Disadvantages Of Bitcoin And The Blockchain Kaspersky Lab Official Blog

Blockchain: so cool, what a breakthrough soon almost everything will be based on blockchain technology. If you bought all of that, then I might just disappoint you. This article will discuss the version of blockchain technology that is used for Bitcoin cryptocurrency. There are other implementations, and they may have eliminated some of the disadvantages of the classic blockchain, but usually everything is built around the same principles. I consider the Bitcoin technology itself revolutionary. Unfortunately, Bitcoin has been used for criminal activities far too often, and as an information security specialist, I strongly dislike that practice. Yet, technologically speaking, Bitcoin is an obvious breakthrough. The Bitcoin protocol components and built-in ideas arent new; generally, they were all known before 2009, but only the authors of Bitcoin managed to piece them together to make it work back in 2009. Since then, for almost nine years, only one critical vulnerability has been found in its implementation, when one malefactor snagged 92 billion bitcoins. Fixing that required rolling back the entire financial record by 24 hours. Nevertheless, just one vulnerability in nine years is praiseworthy. Hats off to the creators. The authors of Bitcoin faced the challenge of making it all work with no central system and no one trusting anyone else. The creators rose to the challenge and made electronic money an operational currency. Nevertheless, some of their decisions were devastating in their ineffectiveness. I am not here to discredit blockchain, a useful technology that has shown many remarkable uses. Despite its disadvantages, it has unique advantages as well. However, in the pursuit of the sensational and revolutionary, many people concentrate on the upsides of the tech Continue reading >>

Privacy On The Blockchain

Privacy On The Blockchain

co-founder @scalarcapital, burner, #bitcoin enthusiast, previously growth eng @coinbase Privacy in an open society requires anonymous transaction systems. Until now, cash has been the primary such system An anonymous system empowers individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when desired. Co-founder of the cypherpunk movement, UC Berkeley mathematician Financial matters are often ill-suited for public attention Theres a popular misconception that Bitcoin is anonymous and untraceable. Its an understandable mistake given Bitcoins first popular use case was the infamous Silk Road a market known for dealing in illicit substances. The truth is that Bitcoin is pseudonymous and fully traceable. In fact, every transaction in Bitcoin maps inputs to outputs, allowing anyone to follow the money trivially. Satoshi even went so far as defining a bitcoin literally as a history of its custody: We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures. Bitcoins transactions are tracked as a graph that resides on the blockchain permanently. If someone learns of information that links your identity to your bitcoin address, they can learn a ton about you. Its possible to infer your spending patterns (where you spend, how much, how often), your wealth and income, whom you associate with. How do you feel knowing those whom you transact with may be able to learn so many personal facts about you? There are countless ways that identities can be linked to a wallet address. Some people share their address publicly. The exchange you bought your bitcoin from has both your identity and your addresses. Merchants you pay can make the association. Two companies, Elliptic and Chainalysis , are in the business of linking identities to addresses, and compiling all their insights into Continue reading >>

Security And Privacy In Blockchain Environments

Security And Privacy In Blockchain Environments

Security and Privacy in Blockchain Environments June 2017 - Blockchain | Cyber Security | Data Protection & Privacy | Encryption Security and Privacy in Blockchain Environments Matteo Cagnazzo and Chris Wojzechowski, both researchers at the Institute for Internet Security, explore how security and privacy can be enhanced by blockchain technology. Blockchain is currently one of the most-hyped technologies. In this short article we will try to show where current downsides in blockchain security and privacy are. We will explore how security and privacy can be enhanced by blockchain technology and outline the challenges ahead. Transactions are globally published and are not encrypted in most applications. If this data is personal data, for example medical or financial data, this leads to regulatory and legal problems, especially in Germany. One solution is to store only encrypted data in the blockchain, which leads to another problem: If the key to decrypt specific information is lost, the data may not be recovered accurately. Furthermore, if a key is stolen and published, all the data is forever decrypted in the blockchain since the data cannot be altered. However, blockchain can also help to improve defensive cybersecurity strategies, especially in terms of identity and access: One attack scheme for man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks is to get the Certificate Authority (CA) to provide the user with forged public keys (Public-Key Substitution MITM attack). This can lead to the decryption of sensitive information. In a blockchain approach whereby users put their public keys in published blocks, the information is distributed over the participating nodes with links to previous and following blocks. This makes the public key immutable and it becomes harder for attackers to pub Continue reading >>

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