Microsoft researchers have developed a prototype data security system designed to ensure that information can only escape in an encrypted form that would be nearly impossible for hackers to decode without the decryption key.
The system also can perform statistical analyses on encrypted data without decrypting it, and the results are fully encrypted as well and can only be interpreted using the data owner's key. The researchers say the prototype storage system is the most practical example of a cryptographic technique known as homomorphic encryption.
The researchers, led by Microsoft's Kristin Lautner, Vinod Vaikuntanathan, and Michael Naehrig, used the most efficient parts of a fully homomorphic encryption system, resulting in a partially homomorphic system that can perform some calculations, such as addition and a few multiplications. The software was tested on a typical laptop. It was able to add together 100 numbers, each 128 binary digits long, in 20 milliseconds.
The researchers "showed that taking a fundamental building block of the schemes for fully homomorphic encryption could be enough to build applications," says University of California, San Diego professor Daniele Micciancio.
From Technology Review
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