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Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Computing and Artificial Intelligence".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2023) | Viewed by 26333

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Shenzhen Graduate School, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, China
Interests: blockchain technology; next generation network architecture; cloud computing; distributed systems, network security

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Guest Editor
School of Science, Department of Computer Science, International Hellenic University, 65404 Kavala, Greece
Interests: model-agnostic meta-learning; multi-task learning; real-time analytics; scalable and compassable privacy-preserving data mining; automated assessment and response systems; AI anomaly detection; AI malware analysis; AI IDS-IPS; AI forensics; AI in blockchain
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are inviting submissions to a Special Issue on Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy.

Information security and privacy are critical for governments, businesses, and individuals due to the fast-paced technological changes and changing cyberthreat landscape. Numerous solutions have been suggested to tackle these altering requirements, and one such solution is based on blockchain. Blockchain is an immutable, decentralized, and cryptography-based infrastructural technology that has the potential to be leveraged in many aspects of information security and privacy. However, we have yet to perceive its role in strengthening cybersecurity within various applications ranging from identity management to health data records, Internet of Things (IoT), vehicular networks, risk management, public and social services, and so forth.

In this Special Issue, we invite submissions exploring cutting-edge research and recent advances in the field of Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy. Both theoretical and experimental studies are welcome, as well as comprehensive review and survey papers

Prof. Dr. Hui Li
Dr. Shancang Li
Dr. Konstantinos Demertzis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • blockchain technology
  • smart contacts
  • consensus mechanisms
  • information security
  • data privacy
  • data management
  • digital identity management
  • artificial intelligence
  • machine learning
  • healthcare
  • IoT
  • digital forensics

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 463 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Transaction Confirmation Sharding Protocol for Alliance Chain
by Nigang Sun, Junlong Li and Yuanyi Zhang
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 6911; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13126911 - 7 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1323
Abstract
Alliance chain has gained widespread popularity in industrial and commercial fields due to its multi-centralization and node manageability. Current implementations of the alliance chain suffer from scalability obstacles, such as communication congestion and throughput drop, when the number of nodes increases. In this [...] Read more.
Alliance chain has gained widespread popularity in industrial and commercial fields due to its multi-centralization and node manageability. Current implementations of the alliance chain suffer from scalability obstacles, such as communication congestion and throughput drop, when the number of nodes increases. In this paper, a novel dynamic transaction confirmation sharding protocol is proposed, which improves transaction processing efficiency by partitioning nodes and assigning different transactions to different shards. It utilizes dynamic transaction confirmation consensus as a sharding intra-consensus mechanism to minimize message size and package transactions into microblocks, which modifies communication content during transaction propagation among shards and reduces network congestion and shard reconfigure cost. The protocol leverages a review system and reputation model to identify and punish malicious nodes and also incorporates a verifiable random function for node configuration, which ensures a sufficient number of honest nodes within the shard and prevents repeated consensus processes. Simulation results show that the proposed protocol outperforms mainstream used permissioned chain sharding protocols Attested HyperLedger and Sharper, achieving a throughput improvement of at least 20%. This protocol is suitable for scenarios requiring high throughput and reliability in industrial and commercial fields such as finance, logistics, and supply chain management. Even if the number of alliance chain nodes increases to the usual maximum, or there are some faulty nodes, the protocol can still maintain stable performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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13 pages, 1095 KiB  
Article
A Universal Privacy-Preserving Multi-Blockchain Aggregated Identity Scheme
by Nigang Sun, Yuanyi Zhang and Yining Liu
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 3806; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13063806 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1507
Abstract
Cryptocurrencies offer various benefits in terms of privacy protection and cross-border transactions, but they have also been used for illicit activities such as money laundering due to their anonymous nature and the difficulty of cross-border regulation. Additionally, the unethical actions of some virtual [...] Read more.
Cryptocurrencies offer various benefits in terms of privacy protection and cross-border transactions, but they have also been used for illicit activities such as money laundering due to their anonymous nature and the difficulty of cross-border regulation. Additionally, the unethical actions of some virtual asset service providers (VASPs), such as rug pulls and the embezzlement of user funds, have further eroded the trust between users and VASPs. Implementing identity management on blockchains can help restore trust between users and VASPs. However, current solutions have privacy concerns as identity providers have access to the asset balances and transaction records of each user’s wallet account, and no solution can support all public blockchains unconditionally. To address these issues, this paper proposes a multi-chain aggregated identity scheme. In this scheme, the identity provider will issue a non-fungible token (NFT) for users who have undergone verification, and wallet accounts from different blockchains will be added to a cryptographic accumulator. The accumulator value is then bound to the identity NFT through a smart contract by the user. This allows the user to prove to others that the identity of the wallet account owner has been verified. The use of accumulators also allows users to combine proof for multiple wallets into a single proof, which significantly improves the efficiency and provides a way for VASPs such as centralized exchanges to demonstrate Proof of Reserves (PoR) to users. Importantly, this scheme preserves privacy as neither the identity provider nor the VASPs can link the user’s real identity with the wallet accounts. Only regulators can access the user’s identity data held by the identity provider and the user’s wallet account held by the VASP to link real identities with wallet accounts for the purpose of sanctions or criminal investigations. Additionally, the scheme supports all blockchains by allowing wallet accounts from any public blockchain to be added to the accumulator. Furthermore, the NFT implementation in the scheme helps prevent identity loss or theft, as it can only be transferred by the identity provider. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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21 pages, 3721 KiB  
Article
Blockchain-Based Decentralized Architecture for Software Version Control
by Muhammad Hammad, Jawaid Iqbal, Ch Anwar ul Hassan, Saddam Hussain, Syed Sajid Ullah, Mueen Uddin, Urooj Ali Malik, Maha Abdelhaq and Raed Alsaqour
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(5), 3066; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13053066 - 27 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4519
Abstract
Version control is an important component of configuration management, and most enterprise-level software uses different tools and technologies to manage the software version control such as CVS, Subversion, or Perforce. Following the success of bitcoin, the first practical application of blockchain, it is [...] Read more.
Version control is an important component of configuration management, and most enterprise-level software uses different tools and technologies to manage the software version control such as CVS, Subversion, or Perforce. Following the success of bitcoin, the first practical application of blockchain, it is being implemented in other fields such as healthcare, supply chains, financial management, real estate, electoral systems, and so on. Blockchain’s core features include decentralization, immutability, and interminability. Most version control repositories are centralized and can be modified by external sources, implying that they are in danger of being corrupted or controlled. In this study, we present the BDA-SCV architecture for implementing a version control system in blockchain technology. Our proposed approach would replace the necessity for a centralized system, with a decentralized approach implemented in the blockchain using distributed file storage, for which we will use the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), which is a distributed file system. The proof of authority (PoA) consensus algorithm will be used to approve the developer communicating modifications to the private blockchain network; the authority will only provide permission and will not be able to add, edit, or delete code files. For each change, a ledger block will be created with a reference to the file stored in the distributed repository. A block cannot be manipulated once it has been created. Smart contracts will be used to register developers, create blocks, and manage the repository. The suggested model is implemented using the Hyperledger Fabric network, and the developer and authorizer ends are built into the dotnet web application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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23 pages, 5951 KiB  
Article
DDS: Deepfake Detection System through Collective Intelligence and Deep-Learning Model in Blockchain Environment
by Nakhoon Choi and Heeyoul Kim
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 2122; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13042122 - 7 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2725
Abstract
With the spread of mobile devices and the improvement of the mobile service environment, the use of various Internet content providers (ICPs), including content services such as YouTube and video hosting services, has increased significantly. Video content shared in ICP is used for [...] Read more.
With the spread of mobile devices and the improvement of the mobile service environment, the use of various Internet content providers (ICPs), including content services such as YouTube and video hosting services, has increased significantly. Video content shared in ICP is used for information delivery and issue checking based on accessibility. However, if the content registered and shared in ICP is manipulated through deepfakes and maliciously distributed to cause political attacks or social problems, it can cause a very large negative effect. This study aims to propose a deepfake detection system that detects manipulated video content distributed in video hosting services while ensuring the transparency and objectivity of the detection subject. The detection method of the proposed system is configured through a blockchain and is not dependent on a single ICP, establishing a cooperative system among multiple ICPs and achieving consensus for the common purpose of deepfake detection. In the proposed system, the deep-learning model for detecting deepfakes is independently driven by each ICP, and the results are ensembled through integrated voting. Furthermore, this study proposes a method to supplement the objectivity of integrated voting and the neutrality of the deep-learning model by ensembling collective intelligence-based voting through the participation of ICP users in the integrated voting process and ensuring high accuracy at the same time. Through the proposed system, the accuracy of the deep-learning model is supplemented by utilizing collective intelligence in the blockchain environment, and the creation of a consortium contract environment for common goals between companies with conflicting interests is illuminated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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27 pages, 1278 KiB  
Article
Janus: Hierarchical Multi-Blockchain-Based Access Control (HMBAC) for Multi-Authority and Multi-Domain Environments
by Vangelis Malamas, George Palaiologos, Panayiotis Kotzanikolaou, Mike Burmester and Dimitris Glynos
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 566; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13010566 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1835
Abstract
Although there are several access control systems in the literature for flexible policy management in multi-authority and multi-domain environments, achieving interoperability and scalability, without relying on strong trust assumptions, is still an open challenge. We present HMBAC, a distributed fine-grained access control model [...] Read more.
Although there are several access control systems in the literature for flexible policy management in multi-authority and multi-domain environments, achieving interoperability and scalability, without relying on strong trust assumptions, is still an open challenge. We present HMBAC, a distributed fine-grained access control model for shared and dynamic multi-authority and multi-domain environments, along with Janus, a practical system for HMBAC policy enforcement. The proposed HMBAC model supports: (a) dynamic trust management between different authorities; (b) flexible access control policy enforcement, defined at the domain and cross-domain level; (c) a global source of truth for all entities, supported by an immutable, audit-friendly mechanism. Janus implements the HMBAC model and relies on the effective fusion of two core components. First, a Hierarchical Multi-Blockchain architecture that acts as a single access point that cannot be bypassed by users or authorities. Second, a Multi-Authority Attribute-Based Encryption protocol that supports flexible shared multi-owner encryption, where attribute keys from different authorities are combined to decrypt data distributedly stored in different authorities. Our approach was implemented using Hyperledger Fabric as the underlying blockchain, with the system components placed in Kubernetes Docker container pods. We experimentally validated the effectiveness and efficiency of Janus, while fully reproducible artifacts of both our implementation and our measurements are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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20 pages, 3164 KiB  
Article
Blockchain and Smart Contracts to Secure Property Transactions in Smart Cities
by Omar Cliff Uchani Gutierrez and Guangxia Xu
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13010066 - 21 Dec 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3368
Abstract
Cities have been growing at an impressive rate, and with the advancement of technology and digitization, new ways have been proposed to provide cities with a certain level of autonomy and intelligence so that they can self-regulate tasks that currently take a lot [...] Read more.
Cities have been growing at an impressive rate, and with the advancement of technology and digitization, new ways have been proposed to provide cities with a certain level of autonomy and intelligence so that they can self-regulate tasks that currently take a lot of time for both citizens and authorities, and which also have a negative impact on the environment. We have recently experienced one of the most abrupt changes in history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, where millions of people, businesses, schools, companies, governments, etc., have had to modify their ways of working, in addition to dealing with many other changes in the present moment, the most important of which is the transition to electronic transactions. This is a chance to progress toward smart city transformation and the implementation of models that assist citizens in their ordinary activities. One of the most common activities is the purchase of real estate. In this study, we propose a model to make the purchase and sale of real estate more equitable and fairer, and not just based on the amount of money. A smart home should be able to identify who its current owner is by functioning as an IoT badge, and, after the subject’s identity has been verified, it should be granted full access to all services, or else it should be blocked and/or alerted to the authorities. The use of smart contracts in a blockchain to transfer ownership of a smart home that includes, as inputs, those interested in acquiring a specific house and, as outputs, a person who chose the system based on the requirements previously established by the government of the Smart City. As a result, susceptibility to fraud or interference by a third person is reduced, and an individual’s security of living in a smart home, and therefore, in a smart city, is strengthened. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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35 pages, 6982 KiB  
Article
Mobile Cyber Forensic Investigations of Web3 Wallets on Android and iOS
by Mohammad Meraj Mirza, Akif Ozer and Umit Karabiyik
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(21), 11180; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122111180 - 4 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 6721
Abstract
Constant advancements in technology have a significant impact on our everyday lives and the ecosystem in which we live. The growing popularity of cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin and Ethereum), along with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), which are founded on blockchain technology, has opened the way [...] Read more.
Constant advancements in technology have a significant impact on our everyday lives and the ecosystem in which we live. The growing popularity of cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin and Ethereum), along with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), which are founded on blockchain technology, has opened the way for these blockchain projects to be integrated into a wide range of other kinds of applications (apps). Today, cryptocurrencies are used as a popular method of payment online; however, their popularity on the dark Web is also increasing. For example, they can be used to buy and perform various illegal activities among criminals due to their anonymity. Web3 cryptocurrency wallets, used to store cryptocurrencies, have not been studied as thoroughly as many other apps from a digital forensic perspective on mobile devices, given the increasing number of these services and apps today for many platforms, including the leading mobile operating systems (i.e., iOS and Android). Therefore, the purpose of this research is to guide investigators to unlock the full potential of popular cryptocurrency Web3 wallets, Trust Wallet and Metamask, to understand what can be recovered, and to look at areas where there are knowledge gaps. We digitally analyzed and forensically examined two mobile wallets that do not require any personal identifiers to register and are widely used for Web3 cryptocurrencies on Android and iOS devices. We review the digital evidence we have collected and discuss the implications of the forensic tools we have used. Finally, we propose a proof of concept extension to the iOS Logs, Events, And Plists Parser (iLEAPP) tool to automatically recover artifacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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28 pages, 1733 KiB  
Article
SPM: A Novel Hierarchical Model for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Combined ACDs in a Blockchain-Based Cloud Environment
by Xin Yang, Abla Smahi, Hui Li, Huayu Zhang and Shuo-Yen Robert Li
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(18), 9230; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12189230 - 14 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1434
Abstract
Cloud computing provides blockchain a flexible and cost-effective service by on-demand resource sharing, which also introduces additional security risks. Adaptive Cyber Defense (ACD) provides a solution that continuously changes the attack surface according to the cloud environments. The dynamic characteristics of ACDs give [...] Read more.
Cloud computing provides blockchain a flexible and cost-effective service by on-demand resource sharing, which also introduces additional security risks. Adaptive Cyber Defense (ACD) provides a solution that continuously changes the attack surface according to the cloud environments. The dynamic characteristics of ACDs give defenders a tactical advantage against threats. However, when assessing the effectiveness of ACDs, the structure of traditional security evaluation methods becomes unstable, especially when combining multiple ACD techniques. Therefore, there is still a lack of standard methods to quantitatively evaluate the effectiveness of ACDs. In this paper, we conducted a thorough evaluation with a hierarchical model named SPM. The proposed model is made up of three layers integrating Stochastic Reward net (SRN), Poisson process, and Martingale theory incorporated in the Markov chain. SPM provides two main advantages: (1) it allows explicit quantification of the security with a straightforward computation; (2) it helps obtain the effectiveness metrics of interest. Moreover, the hierarchical architecture of SPM allows each layer to be used independently to evaluate the effectiveness of each adopted ACD method. The simulation results show that SPM is efficient in evaluating various ACDs and the synergy effect of their combination, which thus helps improve the system configuration accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain in Information Security and Privacy)
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