Improving security in the cloud

Cloud computing will keep increasing as the demand for computing power increases.


ISSSourceCloud computing will keep increasing as the demand for computing power increases.

That increase also raises some crucial questions about security like can a user perform computations on data stored in “the cloud” without letting anyone else see the information?

There will soon be the capability to work on data while it is still undergoing encryption, giving an encrypted result that a user can later securely decipher, according to research at the Weizmann Institute and MIT.

Cloud computing is simply an operation carried out on a network of shared, remote servers and the idea of securing the cloud has been an issue in the industry for quite a while.

Attempting computation on sensitive data stored on shared servers leaves that data exposed in ways that traditional encryption techniques can’t protect against.

The main problem is that to manipulate the data, you first have to decode it. “Until a few years ago, no one knew if the encryption needed for this sort of online security was even possible,” said Dr. Zvika Brakerski, who just completed his PhD in the group of Professor Shafi Goldwasser of the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Dept. at Weizmann.

In 2009, however, Craig Gentry, a PhD student at Stanford University, provided the first demonstration of fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). But the original method was extraordinarily time consuming and unwieldy, making it highly impractical. Gentry constructed his FHE system by using fairly sophisticated math, based on ideal lattices, and this required him to make new and unfamiliar complexity assumptions to prove security.

Gentry’s use of ideal lattices seemed inherent to fully homomorphic encryption; researchers assumed they were necessary for the server to perform such basic operations as addition and multiplication on encrypted data.

Brakerski, together with Dr. Vinod Vaikuntanathan (who was a student of Goldwasser’s at MIT), surprised the computer security world earlier this year with two papers describing several new ways of making fully homomorphic encryption more efficient.

For one, they managed to make FHE work with much simpler arithmetic, which speeds up processing time. And a surprise discovery showed a mathematical construct used to generate the encryption keys could be more simple without compromising security. Gentry’s original ideal lattices are theoretical collections of points that can add together – as in an ordinary lattice structure – but also multiplied. But the new research shows the lattice does not have to be ideal, which simplifies the construction immensely. “The fact that it worked was something like magic, and it has challenged our assumptions about the function of the ideal lattices in homomorphic encryption,” Brakerski said.

Their result promises to pave a path to applying FHE in practice. Optimized versions of the new system could be hundreds – or even thousands of times faster than Gentry’s original construction.

Indeed, Brakerski and Vaikuntanathan have managed to advance the theory behind fully homomorphic encryption to the point that computer engineers can begin to work on applications.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.