IBM Develops Technology to Read Encrypted Data

IBM Develops Technology to Read Encrypted Data
A researcher at IBM has developed a system that could change the way we deal with encrypted data; the system allows analysis of encrypted data in ways that have so far been described as impossible.
Developed by Craig Gentry, using a mathematical tool called ideal lattice, the new system is called fully homomorphic encryption or privacy homomorphism. While not a new phenomenon – it was first thought of 30 years back – homomorphic encryption was never fully developed until now. In test runs, the system allowed researchers at IBM to fully interact with encrypted data without even seeing it or compromising on its security.
The breakthrough could mean a big step forward in cloud computing and data storage. With this system in place, companies could store confidential data for clients and when required by the data owners, analyse this data without having to break the encryption. The storage vendors would not even have to invest in expensive data interaction technologies.
In addition to processing of encrypted data in its secure format, the new technology could also find use in spam filters, encrypted mail, and data protection for electronic medical records. In its fullest form, users could potentially use privacy homomorphism to keep all of their search engine usage confidential.
Commenting on the development, Charles Lickel, vice president of Software Research at IBM said, “Fully homomorphic encryption is a bit like enabling a layperson to perform flawless neurosurgery while blindfolded, and without later remembering the episode. We also think that the lattice approach holds potential for helping to solve additional cryptography challenges in the future.”
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