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Category Archive: cryptography

How the blockchain could help email security

BitMessage

Every day we send thousands of emails and such communication has become a daily routine and a MUST for any person and company.

But options to secure communications are not so common and strong. Also, the existing services are too difficult for people to use and they should use a trusted channel.

  
This is the reason why it has been opened the open source project called BitMessage, a service who helps to decentralize and encrypt messages and solves the problem of trusting a third party security authority. 
But BitMessage doesn’t use the bitcoin blockchain, but a distributed ledger created by the BitMessage Community itself. 

How it works

Thanks to BitMessage and its wallet, you will be able to create a private key and your contacts will receive a string that look like a bitcoin address. 
This way you will have a long alphanumeric string among your contact lists instead of email addresses, and you need a proof-of-work to send your message, even offline. 
In fact, BitMessage proposes a system where customer uses a hash of a public key that it is the same as the user’s address. “If the public key can be obtained by the underlying protocol, then it can easily be hashed to verify that it belongs to the intended recipient. The data exchanged by the user can also include a version number for forwards capability, a stream number and a checksum”, explained the whitepaper. 

Here you can read the full whitepaper, in which BitMessage is described as a “peer-to-peer message authentication and delivery system” platform.


The invention

BitMessage was opened in November 2012 by Jonhatan Warren, who also created PyBitmessage, or the official instant messaging client for BitMessage.

Technical details

Its source code use Python as a language and the Qt cross-platform application framework; OpenSSL allows its cryptographic functions. BitMessage is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Unfortunately, it is not available for mobile devices.

Download the latest version here !

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio

How to use the blockchain to secure medical records

Guardtime, a blockchain platform for ensuring the integrity of systems, is now working together with the Estonian eHealth Foundation to develop a blockchain network to secure one million patient medical records.

eHealth will use the Guardtime’s KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure) into its database to improve the security and the real-time availability of patient medical records.

Guardtime aims at protecting those records with an “independent forensic-quality audit trail”, so it will be impossible to edit the information.

During a recent interview conducted by Coindesk, a spokesperson for Guardtime said:

“In guarding sensitive records, the danger is that they could be altered, deleted, improperly changed or updated, affected by hackers, malware, system issues, etc. The blockchain in this case can prove the integrity of the record, and everything that has happened to it over time”

Why in Estonia?

Maybe you are asking yourselves why this kind of innovation is being conducted in Estonia.

Well, Estonia is already famous for its e-government system which use a chip-embedded ID card that allows citizens to access government services including filing taxes and voting online.

Guardtime Insights

In 2007 Guardtime invented a “Keyless Signature Infrastructure”, a blockchain platform created to ensure the integrity of systems, networks and data at industrial scale.

Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) is designed to provide scalable digital signature based authentication for electronic data, machines and humans. KSI uses only hash-function cryptography, allowing verification to rely only on the security of hash-functions and the availability of the blockchain.

According to the company itself, Guardtime’s method is similar to the one used by the blockchain startup Factom. In both cases, in fact, every time a file changes, a new signature is generated and stored in the blockchain.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio

Gemalto joins Symbiont to use the Blockchain

Recently we talked about several companies all around the world, like Microsoft or IBM, that are conducting tests about the blockchain and how to introduce it on their business.
Well, today is the turn of Gemalto, a digital security multinational who announced today its interest in the bitcoin technology.
Gemalto has in fact started a new partnership with Symbiont, a well-known blockchain startup that aims at “bridging the gap between the emerging blockchain ecosystem and Wall Street, with the first issuance and trading platform for Smart Securities™”.
According to a new interview with Gemalto’s vice president of business strategy Mark Yakabuski, the blockchain has two potential applications within the market.
These are his words:
“We believe that the first generation of blockchain is going to be driven by the financial services industry. The second generation, we believe the blockchain has the ability to be adopted within the Internet of Things. […] From what I’ve seen, security within the bitcoin and blockchain solutions is certainly in its infancy and there’s a lot of room for growth and improvement. […] But we believe that the solutions built on blockchain will expand quite rapidly, and we want to be a leading security option for our customers as that expands.”
So Gemalto – together with Symbiont – wants to find all the possible applications of the blockchain (like smart and programmable contracts, for example) and also wants to use the Bitcoin technology to improve Gemalto’s existing hardware and APIs.
“Our partners are looking for the level of assurance we provide on our products, and that leads us to believe that these ledgers are going to be adopted by those institutions”, he continued during an interview with Coindesk.
However, it is important to remember that Gemalto already works with some bitcoin exchanges, using its HSMs for cryptographic security.
Furthermore their techs can “adopt to new use cases, and we’re doing what we’ve done across financial industries, which is protecting identities and the transactions they perform”, continued Yakabuski.

About the author: Amelia Tomasicchio is a writer and a journalist of Bitcoin-related news and articles. She started writing about Bitcoin in 2014 and she graduated in Rome with an essay about movie industry related to Bitcoin.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Amelia Tomasicchio