The British telecom giant has filed a patent with the US Patent Office on a new method of detecting mitigating attack threats in blockchain environments.

The patent was filed on 29 July 2016 by Joshua Daniel, Henry Ducatel and Theo Dimitrakos, but only published in early February 2017. According to the document, the invention aims to notify users of a blockchain about possible attacks on the system at an early stage:

“The security component monitors the blockchain to ensure the generation of profile transactions complies with the transaction creation profile. However, where profile transactions do not appear in the blockchain as expected then non-compliance is identified and a malicious event occurring in respect of the blockchain is detected,” reads the patent.

When the software identifies the moment of non-compliance it may generate an alert, communicate details of the malfunction to other entities operating with the system, block access to the blockchain of involved entities, protect assets and keep inspecting the system for further anomalous behaviour.

The developers claim the new system of notifications will provide blockchain users with additional security against the so-called majority (or 51%) attack and the Sybil attack “in which an entity attempts to fill a miner network with clients controlled centrally or pseudonymous miners; and various denial of service attacks.”

The three authors of the patent are based in London. Joshua Daniel is a researcher at the BT Innovations Department. In 2016, Daniel authored a position statement that may shed light on the technical details of the patent.

In the position statement, Daniel suggested that his company adopt so-called Service Integration. This system would allow the telecom giant to organise a “top-down flow of identity and access management information,” which it can later use to “carry out accounting and billing.” The company will receive information about a client from provided “super-services” that would save their operations in the blockchain. “This allows for usage control at an organizational and user level with an oversight,” wrote Daniel.

The new blockchain-based method of billing adjustment demands a reliable distributed ledger. This partly explains why Joshua and his colleagues patented the method to defend the blockchain in questions from attacks.

BT plc. has not officially posted the information about the patent application on their website. A search for “blockchain” returns 11 results that are mostly old news about the development of bitcoin.

Roman Korizky

Image via Flickr