IBM announces new FHE encryption standard for better data security


IBM, the technology giant that has paved way for many of the computing inventions, has announced a new encryption standard that offers confidential computing while processing data. It is driven by AI and machine learning and so can be touted as the next generation security to process critical data loads.

Till date we have seen data being encrypted while in transit or at rest. But the new technology that is being dubbed as Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE), computing of data while in encryption state and can only be decrypted with a specialized hardware.

Frankly , such type of encryption techniques are already in use and were first made public to the media in 2020 by Microsoft and Intel. But because of the focus going onto the Corona Virus initiated global lockdown, not much was discussed about the new invention, although the Satya Nadella based company offered a lot of reference material to support the theory.

What is amazing about the IBM’s FHE is that it never exposes the data to any computational process and so can remain inaccessible even when it is being used by application/s.

The highlight is that FHE allows companies to apply AI standards to the data when it is in encrypted form and assures users that no one can take a sniff at it at any moment.

Researchers say that their research is still in a nascent stage and the drawback is that it needs a lot of computing power to achieve process the data while in the encrypted state. For instance, in the year 2011 it took almost 30 minutes to process a single bit and by 2015 the development was as such that the data scientists could compare a two entire human genome data using FHE in just one hour. The latest theories suggest it took just 48 seconds to complete the comparison of two human genomes using FHE in 2020.

To allow other scientists to look at its invention, IBM has released an open source toolkit that helps other scientists to study FHE in order to give it a commercial nod. Now the technology giant’s focus will be to build apps that comply with FHE and then develop tools and hosting environments to run the applications.