Case 42: Blockchain Can Protect Critical Government Infrastructure

Overview
DLTs can enable the UK and its government to better protect critical civil infrastructure against cyberattacks.
Background
Digital technologies are increasingly embedded in countries’ critical infrastructures, and many of these systems are also connected via the internet. This exposes them to the possibility of attacks from hackers or other nations that are able to go undetected by existing cybersecurity defences. It is, for example, possible to seize control of critical routers, allowing them to be monitored and manipulated. This would allow the data from all the companies and government organisations behind the routers to be captured. Moreover, as various other embedded technologies are adopted in civil infrastructure — including bridges, railways, tunnels, flood barriers and energy installations — the chance that such attacks could cause damage to property and human life increases.
DLT proposition
DLT may be applied to ensure that the operating system and firmware used in a piece of critical infrastructure has not been tampered with. A distributed ledger could monitor the state and integrity of the software for illicit changes, and assure that data transmitted from systems that apply Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has not been tampered with.
Outcomes
• Efficiency and effectiveness improvements to large-scale infrastructure, ensuring better protection to human life
• Data integrity can be assured for transmissions to and from critical infrastructure
Maturity level
Ready