CYBERSECURITY STARTUP OFFERS BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTION FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: California-based cybersecurity startup Xage has announced a new tool, dubbed Xage Policy Manager, to help utilities and critical infrastructure providers secure their assets and systems using blockchain. The company’s new policy management tool is aimed at providing a decentralized solution to implement end-to-end security for these companies through a series of protocols to force secure operations, with a single dashboard to view and manage them all. This solution is also intended to offer infrastructure companies tools to comply with new and forthcoming US government directives.
Critical infrastructure providers, such as energy utilities companies, have been the subject of numerous cybersecurity conversations and worries in recent months. Security researchers have identified at least one hack in an unnamed location, while also discovering infiltration in energy grids around the world. Atlanta, Georgia was also the victim of a cyberattack that held the city’s systems ransom, though it didn’t compromise critical services. To combat these attempts in the US, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it’s creating a new cybersecurity hub to help coordinate national cybersecurity efforts and ensure that lines of communication are maintained between various parties responsible for ensuring security.
Xage is looking to help companies combat these problems and comply with security needs. Blockchain is a useful tool for these sorts of security problems because it doesn’t rely on any single central system to enforce protocols and monitor policies that control access to critical infrastructure. Elements of security requirements are baked directly onto the blockchain, so companies can require complex passwords that are changed regularly without needing to update legacy systems, for example. And, should an individual system like a single power node substation be compromised, the dashboard can display that penetration, and permissions can be revoked on the blockchain, so any requests originating from that node can be denied.
While Xage’s new policy management tool could help companies meet cybersecurity needs, it’s unclear how well it will scale due to the distributed nature of blockchain. A solution that uses blockchain relies on numerous computing systems to verify additions to that chain and process transactions or edits. This means that as the chain gets longer, the file gets larger and takes more time to process, which can slow down verification and lead to delays. This problem is inherent to all blockchain solutions, and Xage will need to combat it in order to scale its critical infrastructure security management tool effectively.