The Russian military is to set up a new blockchain research laboratory, aimed at identifying ways of using blockchain tech to prevent cyber attacks.
According to reports emerging today, the ERA, which works on developing technologies for military use, is in the process of creating the new research facility, which will focus on developing applications that flag and contain cybersecurity threats, with a view to protecting core infrastructure.
The reports come from Russian daily newspaper Izvestia, which suggested research work is already underway, with the lab now in development to increase the pace of their work.
The ERA has already put in place a team of cybersecurity experts, focusing on its stated priorities around developing intelligent systems to respond to cyber attacks. With crucial databases and systems worldwide vulnerable to attacks of this kind, their development efforts aim to build technologies that can detect and act on attacks quickly, before significant damage can be done.
Cybersecurity expert Alexei Malanov of Moscow’s Kaspersky Labs said one of the benefits of blockchain systems are that they make it more difficult to conduct cyber attacks with total anonymity.
While online attackers can cover their tracks by cleaning access logs, distributed ledger-based attacks cannot be covered up in the same way, thanks to the immutable data storage provided by blockchain systems.
Putin’s former tech adviser, German Klimenko, welcomed their efforts, and said the research into blockchain had already proved ‘useful’ for cybersecurity in Russia.
The development shows the extent to which authorities in Russia consider cyberspace a frontier for future malicious attacks, whether by state or private actors. It comes at a time of increased awareness over cybersecurity, with governments worldwide turning to crack teams of developers to improve their existing systems.
The lab will be developed under the leadership of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’s Eighth Directorate, and will be based in Anapa, a coastal town near the Sea of Azov.
The same technology that powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, blockchain is thought to be significant in allowing businesses and governments to shore up their information security, as well as building better systems for public administration.