IBM, the American multinational technology giant seeks to protect enterprise blockchain networks from “Replay attacks”. A new IBM private blockchain patent application proposes a solution to prevent these attacks.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently published the patent application. The move from IBM assumes importance in view of the growing focus on enterprise blockchain networks.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, and similar cryptocurrency networks have made the blockchain technology famous. However, the wider adoption of blockchain is possible only when big businesses use it.
Enterprises can’t use public blockchain networks for conducting their business. Public blockchains allow anyone to join the network, however, enterprises can only allow trusted parties on their network. Enterprises need to guard their sensitive information, which isn’t possible with public blockchains.
Enterprises need blockchain networks with high transaction throughput and scalability. Bitcoin and Ethereum wouldn’t quite fit their requirements. These reasons drive enterprises to use private blockchains. These are also known as “Permissioned blockchains” and “Enterprise blockchains”.
Let’s talk about “Replay attacks” now. These are instances when a malicious actor copies a valid transaction from one blockchain network and executes that in another blockchain network. This particularly impacts blockchain networks after hard forks.
Public blockchain networks are already subject to these attacks. Blockchain-crypto communities are devising techniques to thwart and prevent such attacks. A few examples of such techniques are as follows:
- Choosing a secure wallet;
- Mixing the transaction with a Coinbase transaction since Coinbase transactions can’t be replayed;
- Causing a “Double spend” by design.
Enterprise blockchains need protection from replay attacks too. This is where the new IBM private blockchain patent assumes importance.
Securing enterprise blockchains against replay attacks
IBM intends to guard enterprise blockchains against replay attacks without compromising their private and permissioned characteristics. The IBM private blockchain patent application proposes to introduce a unique security value for this purpose.
In this proposed scheme, the transaction originator will sign the transaction with a security certificate. Moreover, he/she will use a unique security value to execute the transaction. This value can be used only once, therefore, any future attempt to replay that transaction will fail.
This IBM private blockchain patent assumes importance in the context of their concerted effort to innovate around enterprise blockchains. IBM champions enterprise blockchains aggressively.
The company is a prominent member of the Hyperledger Consortium. This industry group researches and develops open-source blockchain frameworks and tools. IBM is a key contributor to Hyperledger Fabric, one of the more matured enterprise blockchain frameworks.
IBM also offers “IBM Blockchain Platform“. Businesses can use this platform to implement their own enterprise blockchain networks. The platform uses Hyperledger Fabric and the impressive cloud computing capabilities of IBM.
IBM is aggressively patenting their blockchain innovations, for e.g.:
- They plan to use blockchain for securing drones;
- The company has proposed a solution to audit blockchain networks;
- IBM also plans to use blockchain for network security and database management.
IBM pushes for blockchain adoption
IBM is betting big on blockchain! The technology giant has worked on improving the “Bill of Lading” (BoL) process in the shipping industry. They have partnered with Maersk to cut down shipping time. IBM is also assuring jewellery-buyers about the origin of their precious gems. The new IBM private blockchain patent to secure enterprise blockchains further reinforces their commitment to the blockchain technology. That’s good news!