U.S. Defense Dept. Wants a Blockchain Cybersecurity Shield

Michael LaVere
  • US Dept. of Defense (DoD) wants to develop a blockchain cybersecurity shield. 
  • DARPA has already begun experimenting with a blockchain-based application for sending secure messages anywhere in the world. 

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is working on the development of a blockchain-based, cybersecurity shield in an effort to increase the nation’s digital protection. 

Cybersecurity Shield 

According to a paper published on July 12 under the title ‘Digital Modernization Strategy,’ the DoD is planning to expand on the digital front in cybersecurity. The document outlines integrating cloud and quantum computing, artificial intelligence, in addition to the use of distributed ledgers such as blockchain technology. 

In particular, there is a section reserved for what the DoD calls its ‘Block Chain Cybersecurity Shield.’ The paper describes blockchain as a new information technology that “inverts” the cybersecurity paradigm by being trustless and transparent. The DoD appears interested in the way distributed ledgers such as blockchain are resistant to attacks and tampering. 

According to the report, 

“First, blockchain networks are trustless: they assume compromise of the network by both insiders and outsiders. Second, blockchains are transparently secure: they do not rely on failure-prone secrets, but rather on a cryptographic data structure that makes tampering both exceptionally difficult and immediately obvious.”

The report also claims that blockchain networks are capable of reducing compromise while imposing greater “adversary” costs through the use of honest nodes that reject dishonest actions. A similar feature has been implemented on bitcoin’s lightning network, with the use of so-called justice transactions

DARPA Working on Blockchain Application 

The DoD claims that it's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is already developing a “more efficient, robust, and secure” platform utilizing blockchain technology for communication. According to the report, DARPA’s project will allow personnel to transmit secure messages from anywhere in the world, or process transactions through “numerous channels of a decentralized ledger.”

The report continues, 

“DARPA also has been trying to develop an unhackable code—which blockchain could facilitate—because the technology offers intelligence on hackers who try to break into secure databases.”

In a summary of the DoD’s roadmap for future development, blockchain is given a mid-level priority but falls under the category of the department’s attempt to shift from low-value to high-value work. 

Bitcoin and crypto-assets failed to make it on the radar, but the DoD does appear interested in exploring advanced cryptography, in addition to the blockchain ledgers underlying cryptocurrency.