IBM earns patent for 'encrypted blobs'

IBM said it's received a patent for an innovative data-scrambling technique known as "fully homomorphic encryption" that allows processing of encrypted data without having to decrypt it first.

The challenge has been that in order to work with data in a practical way, it typically has to be "in the clear" and not encrypted. But decrypting data in order to perform useful processing on it leaves it observable and not protected, hence exposed in any attack. IBM in 2009 first began refining its approach to solving the problem of how to keep data encrypted and process it at the same time.

+ Also from NetworkWorld: Can encrypted blobs' help with secure cloud computing? | IBM cements 20 years of patent dominance+

"Our patented invention has the potential to pave the way for more secure cloud computing services -- without having to decrypt or reveal original data," says Craig Gentry, IBM Researcher and co-inventor named on the patent with fellow IBM researcher, Shai Halevi.

Specifically, it's  "U.S. Patent #8,565,435: Efficient implementation of fully homomorphic encryption." In the past, IBM has described this technology in simple terms as a way to create "encrypted blobs" that can be combined and processed with other encrypted blobs and get identical results as if the process were not encrypted.

IBM foresees its patented technology as particularly useful for sensitive data, such as financial, especially in cloud environments. But at the same time, IBM says testing of the practical use of fully homomorphic encryption is still ongoing.

IBM annually dominates the U.S. patent count, having led the pack for 20 straight years now

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Tags: security, IBM, Wide Area Network

DDoS botnets already smarter, fiercer in 2014: Imperva Incapsula

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]
Comments are now closed.
CSO Corporate Partners
  • Webroot
  • Trend Micro
  • NetIQ
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to CSO, invitation only events, reports & analysis.
CSO Directory

Email Security and Data Protection

Encrypt your sensitive email

Latest Jobs
Security Awareness Tip

Incident handling is a vast topic, but here are a few tips for you to consider in your incident response. I hope you never have to use them, but the odds are at some point you will and I hope being ready saves you pain (or your job!).


  1. Have an incident response plan.

  2. Pre-define your incident response team 

  3. Define your approach: watch and learn or contain and recover.

  4. Pre-distribute call cards.

  5. Forensic and incident response data capture.

  6. Get your users on-side.

  7. Know how to report crimes and engage law enforcement. 

  8. Practice makes perfect.

For the full breakdown on this article

Security ABC Guides

Warning: Tips for secure mobile holiday shopping

I’m dating myself, but I remember when holiday shopping involved pouring through ads in the Sunday paper, placing actual phone calls from tethered land lines to research product stock and availability, and actually driving places to pick things up. Now, holiday shoppers can do all of that from a smartphone or tablet in a few seconds, but there are some security pitfalls to be aware of.