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Toward privacy and security in the cloud

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IBM researchers have received a patent for a data encryption technique that is expected to further data privacy and strengthen security in the cloud. Dubbed fully homomorphic encryption, it could enable deep and unrestricted analysis of encrypted information (intentionally scrambled data) without surrendering confidentiality. IBM reports the invention has the potential to advance cloud computing privacy and security by enabling vendors to perform computations on client data, such as analyzing sales patterns, without exposing or revealing the original data.

Co-invented by IBM researchers Craig Gentry and Shai Halevi, fully homomorphic encryption uses a mathematical object known as an “ideal lattice” that allows people to interact with encrypted data in ways previously considered impossible. The approach facilitates analysis of confidential encrypted data without allowing the user to see the private data, yet it will reveal the same detailed results as if the original data were completely visible.

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