Digital security holds the key to some of our most valuable assets: be it sensitive/valuable data or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of altcoins. Outside of Blockchain related incidents, organizations even as large as Sony (and more recently OnePlus) have been affected, showing that malicious software tools aren’t only a threat to niche technology companies.
Targeted attacks take more dedication on behalf of the malicious actor than common threats, and take more human resources to identify and resolve. Common threats pose a much smaller risk of loss but affect more people – presenting a greater market value to the software creators.
The existence of blind spots in security coverage offerings is ubiquitous: As many as three in 19 examples of anti-virus suites have been found to be vulnerable to targeted attacks when tested independently. It suggests that there may be a significant disparity between the focus of leading industry offerings, and the best interests of their customers.
Institutionalized Failure: Can It be Fixed?
This makes it easy to make a comparison with the traditional industry of cable television (AKA the predecessor to Netflix). Cybersecurity customers are forced to choose between products with identical sets of features– only rather than TV stations. They are paying to receive protection from many threats that are not relevant to them while missing out on the threat-specific coverage they need.
The products on offer providing strikingly similar coverage, on the whole, is representative of the significant wastage of expenditure and human resources made by these security companies. The result of competitors putting their respective funds into solving the same problems as each other is a lack of customer awareness when considering or shopping for solutions.
Similarly, on the occasion that one service does present one advantage that another does not have, the different software suites are incompatible with each other. The result is a clash which results in false positives (identifying the rival software as malware), lack of functionality or worse.
While getting protection for one unique threat, you may be missing out on protection for another when provided by a competitor.
Disrupting the Industry with Decentralization
The problems that these threat intelligence companies face are akin to those that have challenged various forms of industry to change throughout history. Once their processes can be labeled as “traditional,” we can define both positive and negative aspects of the industry as institutional tenets.
A conflict of interest between cybersecurity companies, external influencers (such as governments), security professionals and end users could prove fatal to the industry and has already affected consumer confidence. The companies and influencers hold vested interests in profiting from and protecting the traditional and centralized nature of the industry as it is. The best interests for the other groups would, conversely, result from a meritocratic structure that rewards successful application of the specialists’ respective expertise (resulting in greater and more accurate coverage).
There is new hope on the horizon, coming in the form of a potentially revolutionary Ethereum backed solution. PolySwarm is a platform built by a team of long-term cybersecurity and Blockchain experts, and it threatens to shake up the industry in a large way by shifting the power from these traditional corporations to users and cybersecurity specialists.
Offering rewards through a decentralized economy: the platform is set to incentivize accuracy and consistency. Clashes between solutions are prevented through the use of inter-operable “micro-engines” created on the platform by the specialists: thus, maximizing potential threat coverage and allowing geographically diverse experts to profit from the accuracy and speed in threat detection of their software.
PolySwarm’s ICO is set to launch on February 6, 2018 and has a $50 million funding target.