Using Blockchain to Facilitate End-to-End Encryption (E2EE)
Marie Miguel has been a contributor and a writing and research expert for nearly a decade. Her artic
Since Satoshi Nakamoto came up with the first conceptualized blockchain in 2008, that was an improvement on the system using a methodology similar to Hashcash
which also led to the implementation of the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin in 2009, the blockchain has found a lot of uses in the business world. This is largely due to a lot of useful features inherent in the blockchain technology.
Some of the areas blockchain has been found to be amazingly useful include artificial intelligence, e-government, predictive analytics, and IoT. However, the role it can play in fighting cybercrimes to a standstill can be overwhelming.
One of the key components of the blockchain technology that situates it in a very good position to wage this war on cybercrimes is asymmetric cryptography, which is also referred to as public-key cryptography. Cryptography
is a method of using advanced mathematical principles in storing and transmitting data in a particular form so that only those for whom it is intended can access it.
Asymmetric cryptography makes use of key pairs rather than a shared key, in order to encrypt and decrypt data. The key pairs are usually a public key and a private key.
A public key can be viewed as a username, which can be open and accessible to any interested party. If you are in the possession of the username, you can easily view the history of the account.
However, as the username is anchored to a password (private key), you cannot carry out any form of activity on the account and moreover, it is absolutely impossible to derive the password (private key) from the username.
On the other hand, a private key can be likened to a password to an account that is anchored to a particular username. It is very difficult to obtain by a second party and you can only access the account if the owner avails you of the key though, this is very rare.
The private key is used to grant access to carry out any form of action on the account.
Another component of the blockchain technology that makes it apt for E2EE is the use of digital signatures. The integrity of digital signatures is purely derived from the use of asymmetric cryptography.
They come in very handy in many protocols for authentication purposes and have clearly been adjudged as being effective, useful, and secure. Because the usage of digital signatures is based on asymmetric cryptography, they can be easily verified and are incorruptible.
Encryption which is a process whereby a message is encoded in a format that cannot be accessed by a third party is a very functional aspect of cryptography. Encryption makes a database unusable without a key (password) with the added advantage of hiding your identity, location, and data from third parties.
With E2EE, however, you ensure the encryption of your data with the assurance that only the recipient can decrypt it. The security is guaranteed to the extent that your internet service provider, application service provider, and even hackers won’t be able to decrypt it even if they make an attempt.
You can even go ahead to store the cryptographic keys you used for the encryption and decryption of the messages on the endpoints. To make a good case for E2EE, Hannah Quay-de la Vallee
, a senior technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology
, said: “Strong encryption and end-to-end security are bedrock technologies that keep information safe online. These technologies protect billions of communications every day, from the sensitive correspondence of victims of domestic violence to businesses’ financial records to our private medical information.”
It’s because of the highly secure nature of E2EE that possibly led to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook calling for the introduction of E2EE on Facebook Messenger, Instagram services, and its WhatsApp services, in a blog entitled “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking
As a result of the non-assailability of the E2EE too, the UK home secretary Priti Patel, US attorney general William Barr and homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan, and Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton have written to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
prodding him to shelf the idea behind the social media platform’s planned use of end-to-end encryption on messaging services.
For all intents and purposes, the duo of asymmetric cryptography and digital signatures have been popularly acclaimed as a good working pair right from the time the world came to know about the technology. However, they are best known for their usages in blockchains and to a larger extent for E2EE.
This is more so as blockchains’ operations are essentially widely distributed ledgers, it is therefore of the paramount importance that the cryptography used is essentially effective, reliable, and functional.
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