Bitcoin and the Role of Known Devices



Last summer, JPMorgan Chase lost over 80 million customer records.

In 2013, Target lost over 40 million records.

These two cyber-attacks alone amount to a stunning 1.2 billion passwords lost.

So what can be done to prevent situations like these? Rivetz proposes a shift to a model where the users leverage their collection of devices.  Not just one, but many devices provide the right answer. Instead of relying on one super device, this model depends on all devices working together to protect their user. As electronic services grow, people need help to remember all of their codes, perhaps even to remember all of the services they use. Rivetz provides a new model: one that is built not on one, but on many devices, helping the user to manage access and to address the risks of losing any one of their devices. Devices are good at checking each other and they are good at following rules. They should be configured to serve their user and to provide the safest and most private experience. Devices are also good at helping a user to manage privacy, if properly configured. Registering a device is a simple, one time step that allows devices to communicate and work in collaboration to provide the best experience.

Today, we are all asked to leverage multifactor authentication. But why does it have to be manual? Rivetz supports the model of Automatic Multi-factor Authentication. My devices can check with each other all the time to provide a simple automatic authentication. In most cases, there is no need to provide a human response—just a simple PING and notification. Fundamentally, users have a biological persistent monitoring of devices, i.e., if you lose your phone or PC, you notice. This assures that a second device is still in my control and not lost or stolen, and therefore in most cases simple notification is all that is required. Because the service is peer-to-peer, it is impossible for hackers to determine what policies my other devices have. It is also possible to support a cloud service that hosts one of my devices virtually.

Rivetz is targeting these new authentication models to Bitcoin and other Blockchain services with partners. Bitcoin provides an effective and simple suite of cool applications that users can benefit from immediately. A Rivetz-enabled user will have more secure transactions just by using a compatible wallet, while the 100,000 merchants are not required to do anything. The distributed app nature of the Blockchain technologies is perfectly suited to the models of a distributed trust architecture. Rivetz is leveraging Blockchain as a registration authority to provide the redundancy and security that is gained by the system. Multi-signature also provides a fundamental building block for a multiple device authentication model, assuring that my collection of devices can work together to provide updates to registration data.

By moving to a collection of devices, users gain the luxury and security that result from moving away from a single point of failure. The security that is gained from multiple trust environments and multiple manufacturers assures that any potential vulnerabilities will have limited effect. Utilizing the key technology Blockchain services provide, Rivetz has created more automatic and advanced security models that are the future solution to enabling a better online world.



Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Jason Benjamin


About the author: Steven Sprague

Steven Sprague is the co-founder and CEO of Rivetz Corp., a director at Wave Systems Corp and one of the principle industry evangelists for the application of trusted computing technology. Rivetz is playing an important role in providing the key technologies for the protection of private keys and secure instructions for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Sprague served as president and CEO for 14 years at Wave before transitioning to the board of directors. A popular speaker on cybersecurity and trusted computing, Sprague has a strong technical foundation in the principles, capabilities and business models of incorporating trusted hardware into everyday computing and is skilled at translating these concepts into layman’s terms.

Sprague graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He enjoys farming in Western Massachusetts with his wife, two daughters and a few too many horses.

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