We’ve heard a lot about cybersecurity and the blockchain. Specifically, about how businesses around the world can leverage blockchain technology to detect suspicious behavior in real time, eradicate human error, and ward off the threat of DDoS attacks rampant in our current system. But is blockchain technology really the answer to cybersecurity professionals’ prayers? Mark Tonnesen thinks it is.
“Blockchain could be the answer to the perpetual shortage of security talent. Cryptocurrency could be used to gamify bug bounty markets for white hackers and fill jobs in the form of micro-tasks.” As the former McAfee Antivirus CIO and advisor of PolySwarm, a decentralized marketplace for security experts to build anti-malware engines, Tonnesen has built a career out of combating cyber crime.
The Talent Wasteland of Cybersecurity
For going on six years, the cybersecurity industry has struggled with near 0% unemployment. That’s a nice problem to have, you might say. However, zero employment in any industry is rarely a good thing. Salaries spiral, prices rise, and emerging positions are nearly impossible to fill. That leads to an inevitable talent gap and a drop in innovation and competitiveness.
In fact, according to research by Frost & Sullivan, by 2020, the number of empty cybersecurity positions could grow to 1.8 million. This is great news for cybercriminals, since the severity and frequency of high-profile attacks is on the rise and expected to cost the global economy some $6 trillion by 2021, according to research by Cybersecurity Ventures. It’s not so good for the rest of us who want to operate in an safe environment online, though.
How Can Blockchain Help?
Thanks to its decentralization, innovation can come from any corner of the world. Platforms like PolySwarm actively bring together all the participants in the system – from enterprises and consumers, to vendors and cybersecurity experts in geographically dispersed regions. They can join forces in one single marketplace to create a more agile and complete cyberthreat detection system.
This means that cybersecurity professionals can outsmart the hackers by crafting and maintaining competing software “micro-engines.” These micro engines can scout out and identify the latest threats faster than the current system can. Think of it as a pooling of resources.
Because the challenge of outperforming the competition is always present, contributors are incentivized and rewarded for their efforts. And the combined protection that hundreds of thousands of micro-engines brings creates a more efficient and faster solution.
Steve Bassi, CEO of PolySwarm, enthuses, “PolySwarm is unlocking talent from regions with less access to opportunities and leveling the playing field in the industry. Regardless of location and education history, experts get paid entirely on their ability to detect new threats accurately and in a timely manner.”
With powerful supporters including security experts from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and, of course, McAfee’s former CIO, it’s possible that this project and others like it on the blockchain could facilitate global threat detection and replace outdated antivirus models.