Block chain technology is talked about everywhere in the media from local news broadcasts to bfinancial network speculation relating to the future price of bitcoin. If you ask most people about this technology, they can’t define block chain in one sentence.
Block Chain is simply nothing more than shared data stored on multiple computers, which uses encryption. When we talk about encryption, we are discussing scrambeling and descrambling data for the purposes of achieving privacy.
The basic use of encryption dates back to the mid 1980s when the first encryption standards were formed.
Encryption evolved with shared key or symmetric encryption where both parties used the same key to descramble the data. Semetric encryption was fast, easy to use, but it was cracked by hackers. Next came asymmetric key encryption where each party had a different key. This was known as a set of public and private keys. Asemetric encryption was slower than its brother semetric, but it was more difficult for hackers. The public key was assigned to the sender and the private key went to the receiver.
From asymmetric came the use of a third party or introducing a third key and party into the mix.
The third key developed into the multiple computer block chain where data is shared on a large number of computers or a concept of shared trust. In addition to simply sharing data, the algorithms or operations had to be complicated to make them difficult to attack.
Naturally bitcoin became an outgrowth of this technology. The price of bitcoin has made wild swings ranging between 20 to 60% in one week.
However, bitcoin is only one of 1376 different crypto currencies.
The jobs and money in this field will come from other uses of the technology. For example Kodak is using block chain to license images for photographers. IBM is developing uses for block chain to keep track of medical records. Oracle is developing a block chain solution for databases, which must be kept very secure. Microsoft along with other fortune 500 companies are researching uses of block chain technology.
The new uses of block chain will require anyone who works in the networking field to have a solid understanding of encryption, how encryption standards operate and the fastest solutions for descrambling the data. Bitcoin for example takes almost seven minutes to complete a financial transaction. A person making the same transaction using regular currency can complete a financial exchange in milliseconds.
Although encryption is getting a lot of attention, it’s still slow when the data needs to be converted back into a readable form. Research will continue and better solutions will be developed. It is the job of the cyber security professional to determine the best ways to use block chain.
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