The Security Reference Architecture for Blockchains: Towards a Standardized Model for Studying Vulnerabilities, Threats, and Defenses

Ivan Homoliak, Sarad Venugopalan, Daniel Reijsbergen, Qingze Hum, Richard Schumi, Pawel Szalachowski
2020 IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials  
Blockchains are distributed systems, in which security is a critical factor for their success. However, despite their increasing popularity and adoption, there is a lack of standardized models that study blockchain-related security threats. To fill this gap, the main focus of our work is to systematize and extend the knowledge about the security and privacy aspects of blockchains and contribute to the standardization of this domain.We propose the security reference architecture (SRA) for
more » ... ains, which adopts a stacked model (similar to the ISO/OSI) describing the nature and hierarchy of various security and privacy aspects. The SRA contains four layers: (1) the network layer, (2) the consensus layer, (3) the replicated state machine layer, and (4) the application layer. At each of these layers, we identify known security threats, their origin, and countermeasures, while we also analyze several cross-layer dependencies. Next, to enable better reasoning about security aspects of blockchains by the practitioners, we propose a blockchain-specific version of the threat-risk assessment standard ISO/IEC 15408 by embedding the stacked model into this standard. Finally, we provide designers of blockchain platforms and applications with a design methodology following the model of SRA and its hierarchy.
doi:10.1109/comst.2020.3033665 fatcat:hcrsvvkb2ffmbdlspshy66wg2y