Blockchain would have stopped the Optus hacks…Yes, no, maybe?

Spending on cybersecurity has skyrocketed in the past ten years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down as hackers become more sophisticated and aggressive. 

Regardless, hackers continue to take advantage of vulnerabilities and intercept device, application, and network communications, as exemplified in the recent attacks on Optus, leading to a 7 figure ransom demand and some 10,000 private records released for the world to see.

So how should we think about this? 

Maybe we should reconsider the systems that created these vulnerabilities instead of building more tools to combat the symptoms.

Enter the Blockchain

Blockchain can offer a different path toward greater security, as it’s not as hospitable to hackers. In addition, a move toward blockchain security reduces vulnerabilities, provides more robust encryption, and makes the verification of data ownership and integrity more effectively. 

Distributed ledgers are the main advantage of blockchain technology. A dispersed public infrastructure model reduces risks by eliminating the most obvious targets associated with centrally stored data. 

In addition, transactions are recorded across every node in the network. The result is that attackers have difficulty stealing, compromising, or tampering with data unless a vulnerability at the platform level exists.

Blockchain’s collaborative consensus algorithm eliminates another traditional weakness as a central authority is not required to monitor malicious actions, anomalies, and false positives. As a result, authentication is more robust, and data communications and record management are secured.

Protection of data

The technology provides minimal manageability and selective access to transactions and distributed ledger information, making accessing or modifying data in the blockchain ecosystem more difficult.

Smart Contracts

The blockchain’s components, such as smart contracts, applications, APIs, digital assets, and wallets, must be tested for access control, authentication, data security, and logic validation increasing trust between participants in the approved chain.

But is it perfect?

The blockchain-based cybersecurity market is booming, with organisations from multinational corporations to governments interested in it. But the process isn’t as straightforward as updating a toolkit.

Blockchain and cybersecurity are still evolving as a concept. Digital identities, decentralised storage, securing edge devices, and smart contracts are not all aligned with business requirements. Unless carefully considered, implementation can become impractical. As a result, organisations may encounter obstacles when considering blockchain as part of their cybersecurity strategy.

A question of data

Anyone can see and retrieve data in transactions on a public blockchain. Businesses that want to control publicly available information are concerned about that, although one can mitigate most privacy issues with permissioned blockchains. For example, enterprise blockchain platforms can create permissioned networks that only trusted parties could view and vote on transactions.

What are some risk factors?

Blockchain has several advantages such as efficiency, optimisation, cost reduction and increased security. However, technology introduces new risks to the system if not managed carefully. These risks can include:

Access control

Unlike traditional means, the end user takes full responsibility for managing his digital assets. As your private key is tied to your property, unauthorised access or theft of your encryption key can lead to complete and irreversible loss.


Third parties are needed for API integration, whether private or public blockchain. Unfortunately, that leads to trust issues and unintentional leakage of sensitive data.

Forks in the road

During the smart contract upgrade process, some nodes may not support changes made during the consensus phase, causing new chains to fork from old chains and introduce blockchain-specific risks. For example, unauthorised parties may block, reverse, or redo the transaction in such cases.

Now what?

When looking at your security, businesses must determine what is best for their situation. For example, the blockchain may seem attractive but may not necessarily be the right course of action.

When evaluating the validity of a blockchain security deployment, businesses must follow security best practices to remove any vulnerabilities in the development process.

In a more challenging and unpredictable world, digitisation and resilience are essential, and businesses are looking to raise the transparency of their networks and supply chains while increasing security. Moreover, companies want to combine security and transparency with data protection and good governance. For many, the solution lies in the blockchain.