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Blockchain ecosystem: Security of students against cybercrime, future challenges

blockchain ecosystem

The rapid expansion of global cybercrime is being driven by developing economies as major perpetrators of fraud. These countries are creating new epicenters of cybercrime, acting as a springboard into the surrounding region. A big part of this crime involves identity theft. Security and verification of identity are becoming a major concern both on college campuses and after students leave to enter the workforce.

The data hackers steal target student records and personal information that can be used to create fake identities or be sold on the black market. Protecting records with the blockchain could make these attacks ineffective, creating a security payer for students’ identities and school records. But did you know there is a failsafe solution that’s long being ignored in some quarters? The blockchain ecosystem.

Dear Diary

I’m a very careful person. But I read how easy it is for someone to steal my student records and qualifications. This is very scary. All my hard work at school could be stolen and used by someone else. I could be going about my day-to-day life, working really hard…for some thief. I hope there is a way for me to escape this nightmare.

Saanvi” 

Key to ensuring student privacy

As online users grow exponentially the amount of data generated grows along with it, and unfortunately, it is becoming easier and easier for cybercriminals to steal and monetize this, irrespective of wherever they are in the world. As more schools from kindergarten to university go digital, using the blockchain could be key to ensuring student privacy.

The uses of blockchain security protocols in higher education have many other uses as well— one being the ability to defend employers against people who claim to have a degree or other qualification, but really don’t. This will increase workplace productivity and save huge amounts of time in having to rehire when an employee is found to be unqualified for a particular job.

Current data security systems are not capable of keeping safe and verifying the degrees and qualifications of employees, and employers finding themselves vulnerable to false claims with the current systems.

Blockchain and the HR function

HR practitioners are so pressed for time in companies that it is impossible for them to verify every candidate’s qualifications and background. Research shows that 48% of HR departments and practitioners are affected. The implementation of blockchain could significantly reduce this number, ensuring a high degree of trust and transparency. 

Blockchain could also be used to help assure employers that potential candidates fresh out of school have the qualifications that they claim on their resume, by storing that information in a secure ledger.

This will simplify the lives of HR practitioners significantly. The entire” building of a resume” process can be retooled on the blockchain, with each qualification or experience milestone stored as an individual block.

Benefits to a student entering the workforce

One of the most novel blockchain concepts is that of the blockchain ecosystem. In a developed blockchain ecosystem, one blockchain communicates with other blockchains, their actors, and the off-chain world. This interconnectivity selectively takes advantage of the blockchain ecosystem — in its trustworthiness, transparency, and decentralization — and leave off-chain systems to fulfill functions they already excel at.

When securing data for students, the blockchain completes the following process:

  1. Once data has been entered onto the blockchain by the student it cannot be altered, minimizing falsification risks.
  2. The data is will be auto-verified, negating the need to manually check each candidate’s background to spot discrepancies.
  3. Blockchain student records and verification will also hide the personal details of the verifying student, reducing the possibility of bias when applying for a job. 

Having this verified data assures a student of ways of augmenting his education qualification with future learning which he also undertakes through the blockchain ecosystem. Anyone accessing his profile will be acquainted with a history of diligence and mastery which will never be lost or destroyed by time.

Key Takeaways

The need for automated employee verification technologies grows daily as flexible work opportunities become mainstream. Employers need to adopt these new processes to remain ahead of the trend and streamline the hiring process.

The blockchain ecosystem could become central to key functions such as student verification and the safety of employee records but not leave it at that. With access, a student can view areas in his profile that needs improvement, and if he’s diligent, he could set about improving his lot.

Self-fulfilling agreements, the smart contracts, can manage the system automatically, so members of the blockchain ecosystem know exactly what to expect. They can even define expectations for the users, or smart laws, which allow the blockchain ecosystem to run smoothly.

Since 2018, jobs that once kept a country prosperous are being replaced by skilled jobs in service sectors such as health care, finance, and information technology. These positions require more education than just a high-school diploma, thus squeezing out many of those blue-collar, traditionally middle-class workers. Rewards are given duly to those who persevere.

With the pandemic wreaking havoc to the traditional system of face to face meetings, lessons have been moving online in the past 6 months. Schools that have systems in place quickly made the transition but the rest are lagging behind. The greater struggle stems from the confusion and lack of leadership.

Blockchain ecosystem can help students cope

In an ideal ecosystem, students could see that they can recreate their plans. They are made to realize that they are in control of how they respond to any situation in their life—increasing confidence and a sense of control in times of stress. Those who lead can find ways NOT to let anyone lag behind.

That’s the crux of a blockchain ecosystem, to make access equally available to those who seek to be part of the ecosystem, whether they are administrators, teachers, facilitators, students, – anyone with verifiable, usable skills – they will find their place. This is just one goal but the greater concern is that students need safety now more than ever in these turbulent times. We need to put compassion before any educative goals to help students cope with the blockchain ecosystem requirements.

In hindsight…

Aren’t we adults committing the greater crime by robbing children of a chance to a better life? A Cree Indian saying supports this view:

Procrastination is the THIEF of dreams.

My team and I have been building towards the future with the help of our strong community, but we need more help from networked communities willing to collaborate with us. The possibilities are endless on the blockchain ecosystem as the problems we are seeking answers for.

Bridging on- and off-chain worlds is not about one of the two sides being superior to the other. It is about combining the complementary features both sides offer to come up with something greater.

 

Mitch Rankin

Mitch Rankin

Mitch Rankin is the Co-Founder of Forward Protocol, a technology company building open source blockchain tools to connect the Edtech sector. A devoted husband and father, he has passionately invested on education and blockchain. Focusing on helping solve UNESCO's Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of the 2030 Agenda, he supports the goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. His vision is to impact 1 billion people through a better education and learning experience by changing how the world learns. https://forwardprotocol.io.

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