Accenture has launched a patent-pending solution that allows easy integration of blockchain technology into industrial-grade security systems which support sectors including financial services, healthcare and government. The solution creates a developer-friendly interface between emerging blockchain platforms and widely used hardware security technology.
In order to develop the solution, the company partnered with Thales whose hardware is currently used by most major banks worldwide to secure records and assets from cyber-theft. The new solution is based on the widely used nShield hardware security modules (HSMs), developed by Thales, that creates a simple path to large-scale commercial use of blockchain technology.
HSMs are crypto-processors that securely generate, protect and store digital keys. Keys stored in the Thales HSM architecture cannot be extracted or used except under a highly controlled protocol. The solution also used a Hyperledger technology, called Fabric, which can be adapted for other leading blockchain technology platforms.
At present, blockchain-based systems are essentially dependent on “cyberwallets” to store digital keys for blockchains; and as these digital keys are stored on software servers, they become vulnerable to network breaches of the kind that have occurred on cryptocurrency exchanges in recent years.
Most institutions concerned about security rely on HSMs to safeguard and manage their digital keys. HSMs help protect things like ATM machines, mainframe operations, point-of-sale (POS) machines and to verify and sign SWIFT messages.
HSM stores the keys within a secured boundary. HSMs use a certified, cryptographically secure random number generator to create keys, providing superior quality keys than a typical computer system. FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and 3 certified HSMs are tested to stringent standards and are extremely difficult to access by unauthorised users.
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