Is it possible for fully homomorphic encryption to be a “game-changer” for data privacy? IBM intends to find out.
IBM has launched a fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) test service for the enterprise in the first step to bringing in-transit encrypted data analysis into the commercial sector. IBM said on Thursday that the new FHE solution, IBM Security Homomorphic Encryption Services, will allow clients to start experimenting with how the technology could be implemented to enhance the privacy of their existing IT architecture, products, and data.
FHE, considered by some as the “Holy Grail” of encryption, as it is a form of encryption that allows data to remain encrypted when being processed.
The concept behind FHE is to plug the gap between securely-encrypted data held in storage and the need to decrypt while this information is in use — a requirement in data processing or analysis — which can create protection issues.
While IBM and others in the research community have been working on developing homomorphic encryption for over a decade, FHE has not been considered practical, due to the high compute power required to work with encrypted data, as well as the sluggish speeds of computations.
Now, however, IBM says that due to increases in industry compute power and the refinement of algorithms behind FHE, calculations can now be performed in seconds per bit, “making it fast enough for many types of real-world use cases and early trials with businesses.”
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IBM is also working on making FHE “quantum-safe” by…