BlockTrail: A Service for Secure and Transparent Blockchain-Driven Audit Trails

Ashar Ahmad, Muhammad Saad, Mohammed Al Ghamdi, Dae Hun Nyang, David Mohaisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Audit trails are critical components in enterprise business applications, typically used for storing, tracking, and auditing data. Entities in the audit trail applications have weak trust boundaries, which expose them to various security risks and attacks. To harden the security and develop secure by design applications, blockchain technology has been recently introduced in the audit trails. Blockchains take a consensus-driven clean slate approach to equip audit trails with secure and transparent data processing, without a trusted intermediary. On a downside, blockchains significantly increase the space-time complexity of the audit trails, leading to high storage costs and low transaction throughput. In this article, we introduce BlockTrail, a novel blockchain architecture that fragments the legacy blockchain systems into layers of codependent hierarchies, thereby reducing the space-time complexity and increasing the throughput. BlockTrail is prototyped on the 'practical Byzantine fault tolerance' protocol with a custom-built blockchain. Experiments with BlockTrail show that compared to the conventional schemes, BlockTrail is secure and efficient, with low storage footprint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1367-1378
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Systems Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2007-2012 IEEE.


  • Audit logs
  • Audit trails
  • Blockchain
  • Databases
  • Distributed systems
  • E-government performance


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