IBM Extends Enhanced Data Security to Consumer Electronics Products

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YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY - 10 Apr 2006: IBM today announced a new technology designed to greatly increase the security of consumer products, medical devices, defense systems and digital media. Developed by IBM Research and codenamed "SecureBlue", the new technology helps enable mainframe-inspired security typically only available in data centers.

"SecureBlue" protects the confidentiality and integrity of information on a device through encryption, encoding it to prevent its unauthorized use, even from an adversary that has physical access to or control of the device. As the use of various forms of digital devices becomes increasingly widespread and more essential, information becomes more distributed and thus more vulnerable, making strong security increasingly important since devices can be lost or stolen. Encryption techniques have long been employed on high-end systems, but the technologies are traditionally expensive and have considerable impact on system performance, making them impractical for consumer products. "SecureBlue" is the first technology to make encryption practical even for low-cost, relatively low performance electronics.

IBM Technology Collaboration Solutions will work with clients and partners across key consumer electronic, medical, government and digital media industries in the integration of "SecureBlue" into products and solutions. IBM Technology Collaboration Solutions will license the technology, provide engineering, collaboration and design services to implement "SecureBlue" into customer designs, and even help manufacture the product for clients.

"Security is the highest priority in the data center and in a secure network – but it is only half the equation. To have a truly secure system, security must be addressed end to end - from the datacenter all the way to the end user," said Charles Palmer, Manager Security and Privacy, IBM Research. "SecureBlue" has the potential to be a security ‘seal of approval’ in industries such as consumer, medical, government & defense and digital media."

Security is of paramount importance in electronic systems, as more and more personal and financial data is being transmitted and stored electronically. Exposures exist anywhere that data resides, which is increasingly moving from secure data centers to less secure PCs, cell phones, and PDAs that are attached to equally vulnerable wireless networks.

"SecureBlue" is a security architecture that can be built into a microprocessor chip that provides capabilities that have not been previously available in embedded processor products. It protects the security of microprocessor chips as well as the security of an entire microprocessor-based device. Because it is based on secure hardware rather than software techniques, it provides strong protection for secrets and strong defenses against reverse-engineering and tampering. With mainframe-inspired security, "SecureBlue" can be used to protect the confidentiality of all the information on a device including documents, presentations and software as well as the keys that are used for communications security or digital signatures.

Cryptography-based protection against unauthorized access is a security feature normally reserved for high-end computers, making it difficult for hackers to break into or corrupt electronic systems. By providing the overlaying "on chip" security layer, "SecureBlue" removes a major barrier to the widespread use of crypto-based strong protection. While encryption should be applied wherever data exists at any given time – whether being processed, stored or transmitted over a network, traditionally, its use outside the datacenter has been costly and impractical because it requires a great deal of processing power to constantly encrypt and decrypt data.

"SecureBlue" lays the groundwork for strong security to be built viably and efficiently into the processors that lie at the heart of even low-cost, consumer electronic products, and can greatly improve security in our network-centric world.

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