Cyber Trend: Hackers Love to Steal Data; Next, They Might Weaponize It

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help with this. New York-based BigID says its tools help businesses track the movement of their customers’ personal data—something that is becoming increasingly important with regulations like Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). There are also lots of companies, including Splunk, Chaos Sumo, Sumo Logic, and Logz.io, that analyze computer logs—the digital records that document activities on connected devices and networks. (Witt says log analytics won’t solve the data provenance problem, in part because such systems “lack an explicit model of relationships to track the origin and attribution of data.”)

Could blockchain technology play a role here? Witt and Ackerman are skeptical. Popular blockchain systems, like the one underpinning the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, involve a public, distributed online ledger that allows multiple parties to verify each transaction—a digital chain of custody. But Ackerman says today’s blockchain systems wouldn’t be able to handle the velocity and volume that most businesses would require if they wanted to use the technology to track and verify all of their data.

“But there are some things in blockchain that maybe inform some of our thinking around provenance,” Ackerman says. “How do we adapt that [blockchain model] to these high-volume data environments?”

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