University of Waterloo researcher have created a unique cybersecurity system that they claim sets a new standard in protection from malicious online attacks. Called Bitforest, it is described as one of the first systems that provides an efficient method of decentralized online security in a way that is easy for the average person to use. The naming system converts easily remembered names, i.e., usernames and domain names, to values like public keys needed for securely communicating with computer services and devices.
The system offers two main features: policy enforcement and identity retention. Identity retention, which prevents identity theft, relies on blockchain technology. The second feature allows for better policy enforcement by placing greater controls into who can input information into the naming system. Raouf Boutaba, a professor in Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, in the Faculty of Mathematics, says “This particular system will extremely useful in the software updating process, which is when systems are most vulnerable, by providing greater oversight into how those updates can occur and by whom.”
Bitforest, which relies on public blockchains like Bitcoin for security and a central server to enforce policy, achieves decentralized trust and security as strong as existing blockchain-based naming systems. It also retains most of the flexibility and performance of centralized Public Key Infrastructure, allowing validating thin clients to look up and verify name bindings with comparable efficiency to traditional systems.
Feeling insecure and need deeper insights and assurance? Checkout the “Bitforest: a Portable and Efficient Blockchain-Based Naming System” paper that appeared in the Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Network and Service Management.