TECHNOLOGY

A Possible Fix for the Grave Threat of Increased Cyber Crimes

Blockchain-based Polyswarm hopes to solve a problem of upwards of $3 trillion in cyber crime costs.

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BY Darren Heitner - 09 Mar 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

A startup that touts itself as the first decentralized antivirus marketplace says that it has raised $23.1 million to date through a pre-sale and current public sale of its "Nectar (NCT)" tokens. The company is called PolySwarm and has roughly 2 weeks left to meet its goal of raising a total of $50 million.

The problems that PolySwarm's founders seek to solve are the upwards of $3 trillion in costs related to cyber crime, that approximately 70% of threats go undetected, response time is slow and that cyber crime is only predicted to grow over the next few years, at quite an alarming rate. So PolySwarm wants to create a competitive atmosphere where anti-malware experts will compete to best detect and destroy threats, compensating them for timely and accurate malware identification.

Based on Ethereum smart contract and blockchain technology, PolySwarm claims that it will lower the barrier to entry, provide better coverage options, and encourage experts to investigate the latest cyber crime threats, attempting to outperform their competition.

The described need for PolySwarm is based on a theory that current anti-virus "solutions" do not focus on the most pressing problems, instead caring more about simply matching their competitors' offerings. This is something that PolySwarm's founders relate to the classic tragedy of the commons scenario -- where traditional anti-virus companies are behaving primarily in preserving their standing for self-interest reasons and acting contrary to the common good of their customers.

Perhaps the most interesting premise of PolySwarm is the theory that its platform will convert intelligent security workers from potentially using their talents for evil and instead deploying them for good. Essentially, PolySwarm's founders believe that some security experts currently develop ransomware, operate bots or use their skills for other types of evil; however, if compensated (which PolySwarm intends to accomplish), these same individuals would prefer to accomplish honest work and make the Internet a safer place.

PolySwarm's Alpha version is not expected to be delivered, as a prototype for the end-to-end workflow, until April 30, 2018, after the conclusion of the token sale. Its first, full stable release is not anticipated until Q4 2018. U.S. citizens and residents are prohibited from participating in the token sale.

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