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July 25, 2017

IBM patent reveals new way to protect cryptographic keys

This patent is an example of physical innovation still having an influence on overall security.

By Tom Ball

Cybersecurity appears to be at the top of the agenda as a new IBM patent targets enhanced cryptographic security.

Specifically, the new, physical design detailed in the IBM patent will use printed circuit boards for the protection of cryptographic codes and keys. This new process could be used for heightening security through encryption for enterprise storage systems, and even in the cloud.

While physical protection of the circuit boards are involved in the new process, layers are used which mean that the technology within can be configured in random formations. This is aimed at increasing the level of difficulty for an adversary intending to compromise the system.

This new initiative would streamline the currently familiar method by which cryptographic keys and codes are protected, in which circuit boards are sheathed in a plastic substance.

The patent for the new IBM initiative is reads as follows: “An arrangement for the protection of cryptographic keys and codes from being compromised by external tampering, wherein the arrangement is utilized within a multilayered securing structure. More particularly, there is provided a multilayered securing structure for the protection of cryptographic keys and codes, which may be subject to potential tampering when employed in computers and/or telecommunication systems.”

READ MORE: IBM Z mainframe ushers in a new era of data protection with pervasive encryption

“A method is provided for producing such multilayered securing structures within a modular substrate with the intent to protect cryptographic keys and codes which are employed in computers and/or telecommunication systems from the dangers of potential tampering or unauthorized access.”

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IBM have been highly active in attempting to make new advances toward enhanced data protection through encryption. The industry giant recently introduced the IBM Z mainframe, which is intended to provide encryption to every level of the enterprise. This would include network, databases, applications and cloud services.

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