Date of Award

5-2018

Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Information Assurance: M.S.

Department

Information Assurance and Information Systems

College

Herberger School of Business

First Advisor

Abdullah Abu Hussein

Second Advisor

Susantha Herath

Third Advisor

Tirthankar Ghosh

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Blockchain, Digital Ledger, Security and Privacy, Scalability, Security Threats

Abstract

Blockchain, the foundation of Bitcoin, has become one of the most popular technologies to create and manage digital transactions recently. It serves as an immutable ledger which allows transactions take place in a decentralized manner. This expeditiously evolving technology has the potential to lead to a shift in thinking about digital transactions in multiple sectors including, Internet of Things, healthcare, energy, supply chain, manufacturing, cybersecurity and principally financial services. However, this emerging technology is still in its infancy. Despite the huge opportunities blockchain offers, it suffers from challenges and limitation such as scalability, security, and privacy, compliance, and governance issues that have not yet been thoroughly explored and addressed. Although there are some studies on the security and privacy issues of the blockchain, they lack a systematic examination of the security of blockchain systems. This research conducted a systematic survey of the security threats to the blockchain systems and reviewed the existing vulnerabilities in the Blockchain. These vulnerabilities lead to the execution of the various security threats to the normal functionality of the Blockchain platforms. Moreover, the study provides a case-study for each attack by examining the popular blockchain systems and also reviews possible countermeasures which could be used in the development of various blockchain systems. Furthermore, this study developed taxonomies that classified the security threats and attacks based on the blockchain abstract layers, blockchain primary processes and primary business users. This would assist the developers and businesses to be attentive to the existing threats in different areas of the blockchain-based platforms and plan accordingly to mitigate risk. Finally, summarized the critical open challenges, and suggest future research directions.

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