Facebook’s Data Privacy Scandal: Would Blockchain Rewrite the Episode of Data Breach?

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Facebook, the largest online social-network, collected 300 petabytes of personal data since its inception, which is almost one hundred times the amount the Library of Congress has collected in over 200 years. However, Facebook was exposed in the epic data scandal in March that 50 million user profiles were harvested for Cambridge Analytica that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign. Although Zuckerberg published the long, fair, and sensible statement responding to the data breach, Facebook’s market value still plunged $58 billion until March 23.

Tech giants, like Facebook, Yahoo, and eBay, spend millions of dollars on security each year – and yet still find themselves suffering from data issues over the last few years. Cloud services often aren’t the solution either. As highly centralized systems, they are more valuable targets still. An innovative solution is needed, and blockchain is a qualified candidate. 

Secure Personal Data

Unlike traditional information storage system which only has one control system that is hosted on a single computer or a number of computers from one place, the hugely decentralized blockchain oriented system can stock records on numerous servers and computers worldwide, removing the central point of failure. Meanwhile, the system keeps sensitive data from the participants who agree on the changes by mutual consensus, and the data consists of blocks where a cryptographic signature of the last block is required, making an immutable record. In other words, the storage cloud is shared by the community. Along with the use of sequential hashing and cryptography, no one is able to unilaterally alter data on the ledger.

Harder to Hack

Rather than breaking in a single server, forging a balance or making a fraudulent transaction on a blockchain can only be accomplished if over 50 percent of the network is compromised. The cost of hacking one server is considerate, even for the most sophisticated hackers, much less that of compromising the majority of the network. Such hacking is virtually impossible, particularly as cybercriminals would have to breach each node at the same time.

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Improve Privacy

Currently we all transfer control of our personal information online so promiscuously, but blockchain offers the possibility that you can perform transactions without having to hand over your transaction details, or remember the name of your cousin’s favorite piano teacher. Zero knowledge Proofs (“ZKP”) of the blockchain provides a cryptographic way to do things like identify your age without revealing your age, or confirm you are a loyal customer with a set of successful transaction records – without unveiling related transaction contents.

Previously this could not be done on a public blockchain since everything was encrypted and non-authorized users was unable to check if transactions were true. Nevertheless, ZKP made it possible by offering the creator of a transaction to make a proof that the transaction is valid without disclosing the sender’s address, the receiver’s address, and the transaction amount.

Distribution and decentralization are essential factors for cyber security solutions development in future. Instead of searching encrypting data at the initial point, or checking security at the final point, the blockchain technology affords end-to-end security including transaction security, protection against inattentive or malicious insiders, communication infrastructure safety and server failures, etc. Security and privacy are vital to blockchains, which is practically what they were designed to achieve, not after-the-fact add-ons.

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