Cyber threats are growing exponentially. Attacks are now estimated at 90 million per year. Yet cyber security and antivirus industries remain in the hands of a few vendors with obviously limited resources. They operate in silos and often duplicate effort. In other words, the very nature of how the industry is structured leaves a lot to be desired.
Isn’t it time we had a decentralised cyber threat detection and response? What if everyone was on the lookout for malware and all cybersecurity experts took an active step neutralising them?
That’s exactly what Polyswarm wants to do. In this decentralised marketplace, hackers will literally be competing to protect you. There will be enough eyes watching out for threats and experienced experts actively neutralising them all in one platform. It is just about the smartest thing to counter the well organised cybercrime.
Keeping up with this rapidly evolving environment means tapping on the knowledge and resources of the crowd for identification of threats.
There is an incentive too for the participants in the ecosystem. An economic instrument that rewards active users of the ecosystem is well integrated.
What is Polyswarm
This is a decentralised threat intelligence ecosystem built on the back of the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts.
Polyswarm incentivizes people with economic rewards to actively identify harmful files, URLs and network traffic.
The platform brings together users, enterprises, consumers, vendors and experts. The expert build micro-engines to actively detect and neutralise threats. They are in turn rewarded using a proof-of-work reward system for successfully defending users and enterprises.
One major advantage of the platform compared to traditional business is the low barrier entry. Right now, one would have sink huge sums of money to start an anti-virus company.
The other advantage is that is discourages duplicative effort which is rife in traditional business models often operating in silos. This is one true example of the power and efficiency of an open and transparent system. Skill is all that is required to get in an start earning rewards.
There is no central control. Thousands of micro-engines or “workers” instead operate to actively detect threats. There is no human intervention.
Polyswarm tokens are used to reward honest market participation and disincentivize Nectar speculation. Fees are collected and distributed fairly according to the value added.
The public sale is ongoing but ends in 10 days. At least $24.4 million has so far been raised. You can earn a 15% bonus based on the USD value of the ETH received.
How Polyswarm Works
Investors get different benefits depending on the level of their investment.
If you come across the word ‘artifact’ on Polyswarm, just know that It refers to a potentially harmful website or file that can infect a computer or a server. Experts are given incentives by means of NCT tokens to review these files.
There is a hierarchy of reviewers in the system. At the apex are experienced experts known as arbiters who verify if indeed the threats are harmful. Reviewers are rewarded with NCT tokens for positive identification.
Of course, Polyswarm wants to expand its portfolio with time. The broader ecosystem will include bug bounties, smart contract auditing and a number of other security applications.
One other real advantage of the Polyswarm platform is the promise of interoperability. Most antivirus programs have not learnt to coexist. Installing two conflicting programs can have devastating results. Often, each program is good at one thing but not as good when it comes to other functions. Not so with Polyswarm.
The developers have built it as a package covering many threats and bringing in the skills of a diverse expertise. The diversity also allows experts to built antivirus programs out of the ordinary. Overall, this will allow for more protection for users and reward developers with unique skills which would have otherwise been overlooked. Results will then be applied to similar artifacts.
Scanning around, we can think of Hacken as a competitor in this space. However, Hacken targets very specific vulnerabilities much in the same way as traditional antiviruses.
Consider this. 70% of threats right now go undetected partly because efforts are focussed or a few profitable areas.
Polyswarm is giving away 70% of its tokens, in one of the largest allocations. This is good sign. Having tokens in the hands on investors, experts and other users is a better idea than having it sitting in company.
More tokens out in the public means that there will be a quicker and accurate price discovery as opposed to releasing tokens over a long period of time.
Polyswarm is more of a proactive program rather than a reactive one. This could spell a few problems. The question is how long it will take for an ‘artifact’ to be reviewed by the experts and a verdict returned. The various levels of verification means the process could be very slow.
This could render data vulnerable before a decision can be made. A traditional antivirus program would give a prior warning.
That there is a solid idea behind Polyswarm is in no doubt. Cyber threats will continue to increase as internet use becomes widespread and more users come online. In the coming years, more things will become digitized, attacks will increase and security will be essential both to individuals and enterprises.
Polyswarm has very good prospects of succeeding as long as it can answer pertinent questions about its exact implementation. The team behind Polyswarm is an impressive one with cybersecurity experts. The CTO Paul Makowki, is a vulnerability research and cryptography expert with two years experience with the NSA.
It will be interesting to see if antimalware solutions can really be outsourced.
Polyswarm is now on public sale. The ICO has now raised nearly $25 million. You can get 15% discount on NCT tokens if you purchase right now. US customers are however excluded from participating in the sale. 70% of the tokens will be given out. The NCT token will be used on the platform to make purchases and reward active users.