Technologies that detect tampering are as old as the economy. They are evolving along with the development of trade and commerce. From ancient times to the present, manufacturers and service providers have attempted to build a tamper-aware environment for their goods to avoid physical tampering. Tamper detecting applications now encompass trademark protection, currency, coinage security, sealing safety, passport security, and anti-counterfeiting packaging.
While the days of low-tech fraud, as shown in the film ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ are long gone, criminals are becoming increasingly inventive. Document fraud has gotten increasingly complex, along with the technology meant to prevent and detect it.
The key to mitigating document fraud is to create a more secure, tamper-proof document application that is easy enough to use but implements various sophisticated techniques. The recent trends in tamper-proof technology used in multiple financial institutions are as follows: –
1. Enforce Encryption for Data-at-Rest and Data-in-Transit
Whether at rest or in-transit, organizations get exposed to document tampering and other cyberattacks if the data is not protected. Encryption appears as one of the efficient methods for securing data in transit and at rest. In other words, data encryption is the procedure of converting data from one form to another in a manner that unauthorized users cannot decrypt.
But how does data encryption prevent data tampering attacks?
For instance, you save your customers’ credit card information in a database; thus, by encrypting data-at-rest, you effectively turn your customers’ confidential information into an encrypted format that cannot be decoded or read without a decryption key. While attackers may tamper with encrypted data, they cannot interfere with it significantly.
To safeguard data at rest, either encrypt crucial data before storing it or encrypt the storage device itself. Financial institutions must use encrypted connections such as SSL, TLS, HTTPS, FTPS, and others to encrypt data in transit. Furthermore, you can assign role-based controls to guarantee that only authorized personnel can access the encrypted data to improve your data encryption further. You may also enhance security by implementing multi-factor authentication.
ProofEasy helps maintain the confidentiality of your documents. Only the users authorized by you during the securitization process can view the documents. Documents secured with blockchain technology are not modifiable, even by the publisher, and they cannot be hacked or reverse-engineered.
2. Copy-On-Write File Systems
Copy-On-Write (COW) is a concept used to maintain instant snapshots on database servers. It takes delta snapshots whenever a database is updated. The financial institution can detect data tampering by monitoring the snapshots and looking for unusual file system snapshots. Thus, assisting in the prevention of data tampering.
Many database software and operating systems (such as Linux and Unix) provide a snapshot function. Using such operating systems will simplify financial institutions to incorporate COW or other equivalent technologies to stay up to date on database alterations. Moreover, COW also aids in the protection of data against possible cyberattacks such as ransomware-based encryption attempts. As a result, it is easier to restore the file system to a pre-attack condition with data in its original form, recover lost data, and minimize downtime.
3. Data Integrity using HMACs
HMAC stands for Hash-based Message Authentication Code, which consists of a cryptographic hash function and a secret cryptographic key. In a nutshell, an HMAC is a means of signing a message/file. If there is tampered data in the storage drives, it is effortless to identify and discard the tampered data as the financial institution cannot trust it.
But how does HMAC prevent data tampering?
When two or more parties exchange data using secure file transfer protocols, the technology ensures that the data is attached to HMACs instead of just plain hashes. This technology consists of a shared secret key and a hash function.
Instead of simple hashes, HMACs accompany the data exchanged between two or more parties via secure file transfer protocols. The shared secret key and a hash function are the essential elements in this technique. The technique removes the hash from the message and is subsequently signed using the shared key. The role of the shared secret key is to assist the transferring parties in ensuring the data’s validity. As a result, the parties can verify that the data and HMAC they get are from an authorized, anticipated sender and that the message is not tampered with in-transit. ProofEasy verification engine authenticates the hash on the blockchain and displays the original document that was secured using the ProofEasy platform.
4. File Integrity Monitoring (FIM)
File integrity monitoring is an effective security strategy for protecting company data and IT infrastructure from known and unexpected attacks. FIM helps in monitoring files to check the presence of edited data in the servers and storage drives.
But how does this technology help in data tampering prevention?
FIM systems generally monitor user credentials, privileges, configuration files, identities, operating systems, encryption key stores, and application files. It examines system files and creates a cryptographic checksum as a baseline. The FIM then routinely recalculates the checksum of the same resources, compares it to the baseline, and issues a security warning if it identifies changes.
FIM systems consume an excess amount of resources, especially when dealing with vast quantities of data that keep changing periodically. Therefore, it is critical to monitor the files that are more prone to cyberattacks or are classified. Using ProofEasy, users can verify their copy of the ProofEasy document against the document displayed on the results page.
5. WORM systems (Write Once Read Many)
Write Once, Read Many (WORM) systems are a type of storage technology in which data, once written, cannot be rewritten or changed. Major financial institutions and government entities have utilized this technology for archiving operations. WORM systems provide a long-term storage method that guarantees users cannot destroy or modify data inadvertently or maliciously. This technique offers virtual data deletion protection. With ProofEasy, documents are secured with blockchain technology that is not modifiable, even by the publisher, and they cannot be hacked or reverse-engineered.
Data compromise on WORM systems is challenging and most complicated. Still, it is nevertheless feasible if an expert with a high level of technical expertise gets unfettered access to the operating system’s core layers and gains access to the WORM drives. Furthermore, implementing user access controls such as least privilege models allows users access to only what they need to accomplish their duties. Thus, it helps in ensuring your WORM systems are well-protected.
Data tampering is an emerging cybersecurity risk that can be disastrous for a company. While the impact of data tampering varies based on the commercial value of the data leaked, financial institutions are more likely to suffer severe consequences. Data tampering prevention includes simple security measures like data encryption, or it can go as far as implementing File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) systems for additional security.
The emphasis should be on adopting the solution that works best to safeguard your data against imminent hazards, which your organization’s requirements should determine.
ProofEasy can assist you in conducting risk assessments to verify that your institution is protected against data tampering attacks and implementing a sound, resilient security model.