Globally, businesses are expected to invest US$3.1 billion in blockchain solutions in 2018, more than double the figure from the previous year. If these predictions are correct, RSA warns that security teams could be left blind to cyberattack.
According to RSA, many traditional security information and event management (SIEM) tools are unable to baseline the ‘new normal’ behaviours associated with blockchain and could allow hackers to gain entry to corporate networks.
“Opinions are mixed on whether blockchain is a flash in the pan, or the next major disruptor. However, there is evidence – particularly in financial services – that blockchain adoption is gaining momentum. If this is the case, then organisations need to be prepared for the impact this could have on their security operations teams,” said Azeem Aleem, Global Director – Worldwide Advanced Cyber Defence Practice.
“As with any new technology, hackers will look for vulnerabilities in how businesses implement blockchain, if not natively within technology itself. Any disruption or security breach due to a blockchain vulnerability could have a serious impact on operations. Organisations must take a business-driven approach to this new risk, so that advancement in one respect does not create risks elsewhere that could hinder long-term progress.”
Blockchain technology creates a challenge for security operation centres (SOC), as it represents uncharted territory.
“Emerging technologies broaden the IT landscape and can create security blind spots. For example, researchers recently found a security vulnerability in the blockchain and smart contracts platform EOS that could allow thousands of blockchain nodes to be attacked,” Aleem continues.
“Security teams must quickly understand the new ‘normal’ in their IT environment to detect suspicious behaviour faster. But this can be an extremely arduous process using traditional, log-based SIEM tools. Without proper configuration when feeding this new data into the SIEM, the result is often a flood of false positives that leave security analysts fire-fighting, while hackers slip by in the confusion.”
In order to overcome this challenge, RSA recommends that businesses take security into account from the very early stages of any blockchain implementation, while also taking advantage of developments in behavioural analytics and artificial intelligence to support the secure adoption of new technologies.
“Security cannot be an afterthought or a roadblock to innovation. Organisations do not have time to wait for older systems to catch up. This is why businesses need a new, evolved SIEM; one that can help security analysts understand the new normal, faster, if they want to implement blockchain safely,” Aleem continues.
“As a first step, you should ensure that you have low-level visibility into what the technology is doing, which means feeding relevant log data from the blockchain into your SIEM. Once analysed over a period of time, the SOC team will be able to detect an anomalous pattern against a normal pattern of behaviour.
“According to 451 Research, organisations currently pass less than 30% of their data through a SIEM; this severely limits the SOC teams’ ability to identify and respond to threats. Yet data feeds are only part of the puzzle.
“Organisations must arm their SOC with the right tools to help detect and prioritise security events effectively. User and entity behaviour analytics and advanced threat metrics can provide vital context. Ultimately, greater visibility and more advanced threat detection will help organisations to mitigate risk, while also enabling faster adoption of new technologies – everyone wins.”