Protect Your Identity With This Investment
The day after I graduated from high school, my parents received a $12,000 bill from a department store they'd never heard of.
My dad and I were trying to untangle two graduation balloons snared in the living room fan when my mom stormed into the room and threw a thick bill down at my dad's feet.
When my dad opened it, he immediately paled and went to the phone.
My mom trailed after him in near hysterics. She is the financial moderator of our home — the guardian of checkbooks and queen of college checks — so this unidentified bill felt like a targeted attack on my mom's carefully maintained world.
A few days later, my parents figured out that a criminal had opened a credit card in my father's name and racked up massive bills at department stores across the state of Texas.
A few months later, we found out this dangerous criminal was a 25-year-old with a master’s degree and a propensity for hacking.
But the story doesn't end there.
This particular cybercrime affected my whole household for years to come. Since the $12,000 bill, my parents have had their identity compromised multiple times. They live in fear of the next wrongfully charged bill and the confusing rabbit hole it will lead them down.
With identity, it seems that once you've been compromised, you're constantly in danger.
The Age of Identity Theft
In 2017, the Identity Fraud Study reported that $16 billion was stolen from U.S consumers in 2016. This is a sharp increase from the $15.3 billion stolen in the year prior.
Every year, the amount stolen grows.
In the past six years, identity thieves have stolen over $100 billion from U.S. citizens.
This rise in identity theft coincides with an increasing awareness that current cybersecurity measures are not good enough. In 2017, United States citizens endured the Equifax hack, which jeopardized half of the country's private information.
And it isn't just credit companies. Your identity is at risk when you shop on eBay or go to Target. Both companies experienced massive data breaches in the last five years.
Yet, despite the obvious risk, U.S. consumers still are willing to shell out private data to large companies.
And, as history has proven, that trust is given too blindly.
But where is the solution? In an age where cybercriminals could reside in the next house over, it feels impossible to escape looming security issues.
The truth is there is an answer. Many companies are already turning to it. It's called blockchain.
Blockchain Could Be the Next Frontier of Cybersecurity
When you couple blockchain technology and cybersecurity, you get the perfect marriage.
Blockchain technology is the result of years and years of innovation in cryptography and cybersecurity. Today, the technology is most famous for providing a backbone to the growing digital currency market.
That said, while Bitcoin and the digital currencies it spawned experience price volatility, the underlying blockchain technology has proved stable. By that I mean it has functioned as intended and protected Bitcoin or other digital currency users. In fact, nearly all of the cyberattacks that digital currency users have fallen victim to are the result of human error or scams, not a failing in blockchain technology.
That said, when you apply this groundbreaking technology to cybersecurity, you can boost efficiency and simplicity. More importantly, you can increase national security, protecting everything from private citizen data to military secrets.
Blockchains are distributed ledgers of information. You don't really need to understand the fancy bells and whistles, as long as you know that blockchain offers the following benefits:
- Distributed data storage
- Cryptographic security
- Consensus-based third-party validation of information
The three traits above are unique to blockchain technology.
Let's start with data storage. Information stored on a blockchain is distributed across multiple locations. This is very different from the way companies store information today. When information is distributed, it's impossible for a hacker to take down the whole blockchain. Blockchains also offer cryptographic security measures. These measures prevent a hacker or cyber-thief from altering or infiltrating information on the blockchain, providing every individual with better security.
It's easy to see how this technology can be applied to better guard our private or sensitive information.
And, lucky for investors, this technology can be applied in nearly ever industry seeking better cybersecurity, from banks to credit bureaus.
And while I personally doubt we are going to see Target roll out a blockchain anytime soon, there are quite a few companies, large and small, working toward solutions in the space.
Companies Leading the Charge
When it comes to blockchain and cybersecurity, quite a few companies have caught on that this is the future.
One of the companies at the forefront is Guardtime, a data and security startup founded in 2007. Guardtime has been getting a lot of press these days. Featured in both Forbes and TechCrunch, the company has become a media darling and a major potential player in the coming blockchain cybersecurity revolution.
The company was founded by cryptographer Ahto Buldas. Recently, the company committed to blockchain technology as a way to protect sensitive data. The company's central product is called the Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI). This product is intended to replace the current Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
KSI is already being considered by organizations such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to protect sensitive military data and by the Estonian eHealth Foundation to secure over one million health records.
Guardtime shows a lot of promise, and it just released a digital token that we will be talking about in the upcoming issue of our digital currency education service, Token Authority.
Now, on a digital currency note, there are also projects in the blockchain cybersecurity space linked to digital currencies.
One such project is Obsidian, which is tackling cybersecurity through our messaging systems. Today, messaging services are used around the globe, and individuals have a bad habit of sending personal information to friends. If these messaging services are compromised, users could be facing a pretty major issue.
Obsidian tries to tackle this issue through decentralized blockchain. Communication data is flung throughout a wide network of distributed databases. Investors can learn more about Obsidian on its website.
On a Closing Note
There's really no hiding it: The cybersecurity industry is about to boom.
Sure, it's not as flashy as robots or artificial intelligence, but investing in cybersecurity could prove incredibly lucrative in the coming years. Investors eyeing the space will benefit from a rapidly growing sector, with a wide range of companies (both private and public) looking to deploy better cybersecurity methods.
That's likely why the cybersecurity market is expected to hit $170 billion in value by 2020. BY 2022, the sector is supposed to be worth $231 billion.
We're keeping a close eye on the cybersecurity industry in our Technology and Opportunity newsletter. We are also focusing on blockchain-based companies in the cybersecurity space in our FREE digital currency newsletter Token Authority.
Keep an eye on Wealth Daily for the final email in our digital currency education series. I've been saving the best for last.
Next week, you're going to meet my favorite person at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES): Sophia the blockchain-based robot.
@AlexandraPerryC on Twitter
Alexandra Perry is a contributing analyst for Wealth Daily and Energy and Capital. She has multiple years of experience working with startup companies, primarily focusing on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, alternative energy, and biotech. Her take on investing is simple: a new age of investor can make monumental returns by investing in emerging industries and foundational startup ventures.
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