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NOV-DEC 2017

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32 INTECH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 WWW.ISA.ORG Will blockchain technology disrupt the ICS world? Blockchain could have industrial control system application B lockchain is a novel technology that lead- ing industry players predict will cause ma- jor disruption to many existing industries, including banking, real estate, supply chain, vot - ing, and energy management. Large businesses, such as IBM, Samsung, UBS, and Barclays, are already working on blockchain-related projects and services, and hundreds of startup businesses are developing their own killer applications. Block - chain technology could also disrupt the industrial control system (ICS) world, so it is worth look - ing now to see what might be coming and how it might affect us. Blockchain technology Blockchain technology is a decentralized method for recording transactions. These transactions are recorded in a distributed ledger (known as the blockchain) that is stored across thousands of computers worldwide. Transactions are recorded in the ledger and grouped together in blocks. They are secured using a form of cryptography called "hashing." Because the ledger is distributed and secured using hash - ing, it is theoretically impossible to make changes once something is recorded. Hashing converts the data in a block into a hash, a format that cannot be decrypted to ob - tain the original data. It is unique such that any changes to the original data will yield a different result. Blocks in a blockchain incorporate the hash from the previous block, and so tampering with or forging transactions by changing data in a block is easily identified and prevented. By Steve Mustard, PE, Eur. Ing., CAP, and Mark Davison, MIET

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