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Blockchain technology use in networking? Not so fast

Blockchain technology use has little value in networking, according to one IT analyst. Analysts also examine IoT security and what might happen to AI if disasters occur.

Blockchain may be getting a lot of love in the tech and financial press, but when it comes to its use as a network management tool, the methodology has little value.

So said Mike Fratto, an analyst with GlobalData in Sterling, Va.

"Blockchain provides little benefit to auditing network management [and is no better] than existing alternatives," he said. "Furthermore, I'd suggest that blockchain is an unproven technology in enterprise IT."

For the uninitiated, blockchain is essentially a ledger that's distributed across a network of computers, which stores transactional information. While blockchain technology use may be a necessity in cryptocurrency trading -- where trust is an issue -- it has no bearing in network management, Fratto said.

"If enterprise IT doesn't trust the integrity of its management systems, [it] has much bigger problems," he said. Even in an auditing environment -- where configuration changes are made and tracked -- blockchain would only have relevance to those companies that have to prove compliance.

"Blockchain could fulfill all of those requirements, but it is a complicated, untested and unproven technology," Fratto said.

Find out what else Fratto had to say about blockchain technology use and why it's unsuitable for network management.

Lack of IoT security regulations means enterprises are vulnerable

The number of internet-of-things devices continues to balloon, and with that, so do the types of security vulnerabilities that can plague an enterprise network. That said, it's unlikely there will be any regulations governing IoT security, especially in the United States, according to Packet Pushers blogger Drew Conry-Murray.

"When it comes to regulation, you can try to set rules for two groups: one, the device manufacturers or developers; and two, the IT teams that operate and protect the networks on which these devices run," he wrote. "Right now in the United States, it's very difficult to hold manufacturers or developers accountable for security defects in their products."

Before any regulations do occur, Conry-Murray said, it will ultimately take security incidents that lead to grievous injury or death -- for example, if an autonomous car crashes into a bridge, killing its passengers, or if a medical device fails and a patient dies because of malicious software.

"Injury and death tend to get the attention of consumers, elected representatives, and insurance companies, which in turn may generate sufficient pressure to upend current license agreements and extend consumer protection laws to more robustly address software defects," he wrote.

In the meantime, Conry-Murray said, it's up to network operators to prepare for any IoT problems that erupt. "Because right now, it's all on you."

See what else Conry-Murray has to say about the state of IoT security.

AI, as portrayed in an episode of 'Black Mirror'

Gartner analyst Craig Roth envisioned a dystopian future in a recent blog post -- this one fueled by the specter of autocratic nations taking control of AI.

Roth wrote about a recent scenario-building exercise he participated in, where his assignment was to create a worst-case proposition for the future of AI. And he certainly did, with a story that described what happened after a series of accidents and incidents -- all due to AI glitches -- forced government regulators to curb support and research into the technology.

"It started -- simply enough -- at a candy factory," Roth said. "And how it all came about says a lot more about the weaknesses of the humans that rejected AI than the strength of the machines."

Read the rest of Roth's story and its startling conclusion.

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