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What Is Homomorphic Encryption?

Technology is changing rapidly around us daily and a growing number of organizations are implementing service to improve their security and levels of productivity. However, as we enter the new generation of connectivity and exponential growth of personal data generation and collection, we must re-examine the entire idea of security and the ecosystem that connects all its moving parts. Many common services, such as cloud data storage, are not as secure as they may seem. These vulnerable endpoints leave companies at high-risk for any number of cyberattacks, ranging from data breaches to ransomware schemes with far-reaching consequences for entire organizations. That’s where homomorphic encryption comes in.

Homomorphic Encryption

Homomorphic encryption is a method of encryption that allows computations and queries to be performed upon fully encrypted data, making it possible to analyze or manipulate encrypted data without decrypting it. Since most data theft occurs while data is being temporarily decrypted for us or stored as plain text, homomorphic encryption allows anyone to perform operations on data without the need to first decrypt it - making the entire system safer from data theft and privacy violations. The risk of privacy leakage of sensitive information in complex IT systems can’t be ignored, and there is a growing interest in applying homomorphic technology to provide data privacy and decentralized access to organizational data.

Applications of Homomorphic Encryption

In the real-world, homomorphic encryption has a number of practical, industry-relevant applications. From electronic voting systems to protecting information on the cloud to enabling private queries in search engines. Real-world applications for homomorphic encryption can include:

Securing Cloud Storage

Whether your organization uses a third-party cloud storage service or has only some data offloaded to the cloud, it’s critical to never fully trust the security of your cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider. It’s already well known that cloud storage isn’t always as secure as we’d like it to be. The remnants of which can still be seen from The Wall Street Journal’s investigation into the global hacking campaign called ‘Cloud Hopper.’ Not only does homomorphic encryption have the potential to secure data stored on the cloud, but it also retains the ability to calculate and search ciphered information that you can later decrypt. This is super important to safeguarding the integrity of your data as a whole –– a win-win scenario for security experts, organizations and customers.

Enabling Data Analytics

Homomorphic encryption allows safe and secure access to data for researchers. Without the need to decrypt, data can be encrypted and outsourced to commercial cloud environments for research purposes — all while keeping patient data secure. Homomorphic encryption can be used for businesses and organizations across a number of industries, including but not limited to, finance, retail and healthcare. By allowing predictive analytic service providers to safely analyze medical data without putting data privacy at risk, homomorphic encryption is empowering research teams worldwide and the advancement of new technological developments.

Improving Election Security and Transparency

It’s been a hot topic lately, but researchers are now looking into how to use homomorphic encryption to make democratic elections more secure and transparent. The Paillier encryption scheme, for example, uses additional operations and would be best suited for voting-related applications. By allowing users to add various values in an unbiased manner, homomorphic encryption has the ability to keep these values private. This kind of technology has huge potential to not only protect data from unwanted manipulation, but also allow it to be used to independently verify results by authorized third-parties.

HUB Security’s Flexible Mini HSM

HUB Security’s programmable HSM is a high-performance key management and cryptographic KMS solution built on FPGAs –– designed to protect against unique cyberattacks. HUB Security’s mini HSM is the first of its kind to offer a pocket-sized customizable HSM solution coupled with an ultra-secure HSM-to-HSM communication layer for air-tight security that can support any cloud-based or digital asset.