IBM Researcher Solves Longstanding Cryptographic Challenge
Discovers Method to Fully Process Encrypted Data Without Knowing its Content; Could Greatly Further Data Privacy and Strengthen Cloud Computing Security
IBM's solution, formulated by IBM Researcher Craig Gentry, uses a mathematical object called an "ideal lattice," and allows people to fully interact with encrypted data in ways previously thought impossible. With the breakthrough, computer vendors storing the confidential, electronic data of others will be able to fully analyze data on their clients' behalf without expensive interaction with the client, and without seeing any of the private data. With Gentry's technique, the analysis of encrypted information can yield the same detailed results as if the original data was fully visible to all.
Using the solution could help strengthen the business model of "cloud computing," where a computer vendor is entrusted to host the confidential data of others in a ubiquitous Internet presence. It might better enable a cloud computing vendor to perform computations on clients' data at their request, such as analyzing sales patterns, without exposing the original data.
Other potential applications include enabling filters to identify spam, even in encrypted email, or protecting information contained in electronic medical records. The breakthrough might also one day enable computer users to retrieve information from a search engine with more confidentiality.
"At IBM, as we aim to help businesses and governments operate in more intelligent ways, we are also pursuing the future of privacy and security," said
Two fathers of modern encryption --
IBM enjoys a tradition of making major cryptography breakthroughs, such as the design of the Data Encryption Standard (DES); Hash Message Authentication Code (HMAC); the first lattice-based encryption with a rigorous proof-of-security; and numerous other solutions that have helped advance Internet security.
IBM Research is home to the largest team of cryptography researchers outside of the academic and government communities. For more information about IBM Research, please visit http://www.research.ibm.com/.
SOURCE IBM Corporation