“The challenge (most times) is not the platform producers but the end-users. We should play our parts to keep ourselves safe,” Jude Ozinegbe, CEO/managing partner, Zinochrome International Nigeria Limited, expatiated the need for blockchain security at the hybrid Africa Tech Alliance Forum held on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
Speaking on ‘User perspective of blockchain security’, Ozinegbe explained his experience overtime.
“Some years ago, a desktop computer had just about 128mp and about 10 gigs of storage space. Back then, transferring files on computers was a big challenge but everyone was happy with it because that was the best we knew.”
Now, with our smartphones, we can have 512 gigs and some desktops can have up to two terabytes. This has enabled higher capacity data which allows us to store more files on our smartphones.
“I was opportune to have seen windows 95 and in my community of about 40 estates somewhere in Ojo, I was the only student that knew how to operate a computer.”
Ozinegbe’s house became the centre for letter typing and gradually, his family started a business centre, migrating from providing services to just neighbours to other people outside the neighbourhood.
“We migrated from doing that for neighbours into having a business centre and many people were coming to us to have their documents typed, printed and sent to places like Abuja or Benin. That was the reality then.”
“Digital transformation/economy are new words coming up now. 10/20 years ago, there was nothing like that.”
Stressful bank transactions
Talking about bank transactions, Ozinegbe noted the stress included in the process prior to digitalisation.
“You have to walk into a bank, fill out some forms and protect your savings book. But now, transactions can now be made at the comfort of your home.”
With all of these happening on our phones, we are the new targets to threats
Ozinegbe explained several digital assets which most people have on their smart devices, further exposing us to digital threats. They include:
- Social records which includes the chats you have with friends, family families and business records
- Transaction records including transactions, quotations, invoices, payments among others
- Medical records, which are yet to be leveraged in Nigeria, include test results in electronic formats, enabling access to them on your smartphones
- There are also religious records including the religious books you read, prayers points stored, among others
- Career records for those studying online. Database of schools and results can be received on smart devices
- Financial records include money you’ve sent, received and the one you have in your account
All these add up to make ‘you’ the new target, Ozinegbe said. The target has moved from the old desktop computers to you.
How secure are you?
Digital transformation will continually pose new threats, however, many of us are not considering these threats. The problems may not be from our big data centres because they have all the forms of unified threats management and are working day and night to ensure their infrastructure is safe.
Distributed ledger technology known as the blockchain promises data access security because of multiple or simultaneous real-time distribution across multiple devices.
“If you know how blockchain runs; a single digital identity or digital asset is replicated on multiple nodes so when it leaves your system, you cannot replicate it because everyone has a copy.”
However, there is a place where the repository is sent to because this has to do with hybrid, either a private or public blockchain, or a combination of both. To access the repository, you have to go through a process, a wallet or a platform that is provided for everyone to carry out transactions.
This now brings us to someone gaining access to your digital assets; hackers. The good news is that with blockchain technology, we cannot be hacked because a hacker can only gain access to your account through a private key. Hence, protect your private key as well as you have to.
Summary of recommendations by Zinochrome boss:
- You must not reveal your private key to anyone
- You have to take your private key out of the cloud and keep it in a private wallet.
- There’s also the hardware wallet where you can store all your passwords, accessing banks, schools, etc to get your personal records
- Leverage software protection such as two-factor authentication
- Multi-factor authentication