Industry News The Russian Military is creating a Blockchain Lab

The Russian Military is creating a Blockchain Lab

July 3, 2018

In a headline straight from a spy thriller, the Russian Ministry of Defense recently announced it is creating its own lab dedicated to testing of the blockchain tech. The same tests will have the purpose of finding out how this technology that is essential for cryptocurrencies and many more things to come, could be applied to mitigate the damage from cybersecurity attacks and malicious events.

The same news was broken by local media and the initiative is getting underway thanks to the Russian military technology accelerator. The name of the same program is ERA and now, it is launching a lab specially designated for blockchain and its use in cybersecurity.

This is both an interesting by Russia and probably an unnerving turn of events for many western nations, all at the same time. The development in the same ERA lab will likely be kept under tight media secrecy, but the ripple effect of its opening is still more than relevant. The end results of the same research, whenever they come, could have an even greater impact on not just on the cryptocurrency ecosystem, but the entire world as well.

Identify and Protect

According to the Russian news outlet Izvestia, the lab will try to use blockchain to identify the source of the cyber attack, but also to protect the country’s crucial IT infrastructure. Izvestia also stated in their report that the research was already underway but that the lab itself, as a physical location is still under construction, likely both organisationally and literally.

The system that is being constructed should include a team of security specialist from the informational fields. Alexei Malanov, who is an antivirus expert working at the cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab stated that the blockchain tech shows a lot of potentials. Besides the fact that it runs global cryptocurrency networks like bitcoin, the same technology has a huge range of other potential uses, including online security.

Mainly, it could be used to search for traces of cyber attack and make their hiding places easier to spot. According to him, online attackers often dispose of access logs on the used devices to hide their activity on the same unauthorized platform. But, with the use of a distributed ledger, this is much harder to do and the risks of successful concealment are minimal.

Blessings from the Top

It appears that the ERA lab has the blessings of the highest echelons of the Russian state. German Klimenko, who was a technology advisor to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, stated that previous studies were used for the country’s cyber security.

This implies that the country has already been experimenting with the blockchain tech in this domain. Among other things known about the lab is its location. It will be set in Anapa, a Russian coastal town. Aside from being connected to the ERA program, it will also fall under the jurisdiction of the Eighth Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

The 8th Directorate is known as a branch of the military that is focused on information security. Clearly, the blockchain lab will be a natural addition to the Directorate’s other activities.

The Forgotten Connection

The idea of using blockchain exclusively for military purposes is nothing new. In fact, both sides of the previous Iron Curtain (which seems to be slowly replaced with a similar one) are doing the same. So far, most of the focus has been placed on the use of blockchain as an efficiency-boosting mechanism.

This means using the same tech to distribute the logistics network inside of a particular military organization. With it, the supply process, a headache of militaries from the dawn of time, could be rendered a lot more practical and effective, while it also made savings on unnecessary expenditure. These are currently bogging down every military organization, but especially big ones like the US or Russian armed services.

But, while there was plenty of talk about this option a couple of years ago, it looks like most similar initiatives have dwindled down, or they were left to civilian contractors. In that case, the same independent companies might take additional years to complete something close to a working product.

Until then, the machine of the military supply and logistics will keep on rumbling, so it appears that the connection between blockchain and this aspect of the military has largely been forgotten. Yet, the notion of security, especially a prominent segment of security like national cyberspace is a completely different story.

Upcoming Government Backing

Even without the context, it is clear that this application of blockchain in the case of the ERA lab has a lot more serious backing. Russia is at the forefront of the cyber warfare, both in terms of doctrine and if the western accusers are correct, direct application.

Many will undoubtedly suspect that the research will not focus only on defensive capabilities but also offensive ones. This might be the thing that many western military leaders need to push through their cybersecurity initiatives and blockchain will not be left behind.

In the modern economy, there is little chance that this will lead to some kind of blockchain arms race, especially because of the budgetary constraints. But, many are certain that the whole cybersecurity space will heat up drastically once the world witnessed an attack on an unprecedented scale.

While the financial and other damages of that event are calculated, it is certain that all big world governments will multiply their efforts both to protect their cyberspace and find ways to jeopardize the same domain for others. In this climate, the knowledge gathered beforehand could provide to be more than useful.

The Blockchain Cybersecurity Future

Like eSports, blockchain is a seemingly fringe tech that will only get more and more important practically in every corner of the world. As Russia takes steps to explore its use, the same will follow.

For the cryptocurrency markets, this process has little relevance, aside from the fact that it will show general adoption of the same tech that runs these networks as well. As the mixture of cybersecurity and blockchain bares new tools, the hope remains that these will be focused on self-defense, not first strike-type attacks that could end up being a problem not just for the crypto market, but the whole world.

Source: CoinDesk