(SiliconAngle) IBM Corp. on Thursday has released a free toolkit meant to make it practical for developers to implement fully homomorphic encryption (FHE), an emerging cryptography scheme with the potential to be safer than current methods and more resistant to quantum computers.
In the long term, FHE could emerge as particularly valuable because it’s believed to be resistant to quantum encryption cracking. Cryptography secures files by making access to the data contingent on a computer solving a complex mathematical problem. The types of problems used by the most popular encryption schemes today could theoretically be solved by a large enough quantum computer, but FHE relies on a different approach based on constructs known as lattices that researchers estimate will be harder to crack.
Fully homomorphic encryption, or FHE for short, is a cryptographic scheme pioneered in 2009 by noted computer scientist Craig Gentry, who at the time worked at IBM Research. The security issue it aims to solve is that even encrypted data isn’t encrypted all of the time. Files must be unscrambled whenever an application needs to use them, which creates openings for hackers to swoop in and steal their contents.
“Developers with basic platform tool familiarity can get up and running by following a few simple instructions rather quickly,” Flavio Bergamaschi, the head of the FHE research group inside IBM Research, wrote in a blog post. “It was no small feat to synthesize 11 years of top-notch cryptography research into a streamlined developer experience.”