This year witnessed a number of cyber-attacks such as the ransomware virus WannaCry that shook the world by severely affecting computers across continents. With personal information being compromised, everyone collectively hoped for a software that could encrypt all of the data. And seems like our prayers have been answered. IBM has found a way to encrypt all levels of a network.
The American multinational company has built a new mainframe that encrypts all networks, from local databases and applications to cloud services – powering almost 12 billion transactions in a single day.
It had been almost impossible to encrypt such a vast level of network transactions owing to the processing burden. Many companies failed in this advances as the commitment to constantly encrypt and decrypt data wasn’t an easy feat. But Armonk-headquartered IBM has proved why it is one of the biggest technology company through its IBM Z mainframe. Making possible the previously impossible, IBM Z will offer far great security for its users.
Considering the amount of digital data – standing at nine billion – that has been compromised by hackers since 2013, IBM Z will provide the much-needed relief companies and users have been yearning for. It is nearly hard to fathom that nine billion digital data, mostly medical, had been compromised in the short span of four years with only 4% being encrypted.
And let’s not forget even this data is sometimes compromised when respective companies opt out of using cryptography, which is hacker-proof. This means passwords, credit card numbers and user names, among other things, are easily passed on. Here is where the IBM Z’s powerful encryption works best. It makes it far more difficult, almost impossible, for criminals to identify worthwhile targets.
How is this possible? The mainframe has the capacity to lock data with public 256-bit AES encryption. This is the same protocol that is used by SSL and TLS web encryption standards and is, in fact, also trusted by none other than the US government to protect classified data. Now that ought to be worthwhile. But it doesn’t end here. IBM Z also focuses on quantity than quality. As a result, it can encrypt digital data up to 13GB. Let that sink in. Because it only gets better – 13GB of data per second per chip with almost 24 chips per mainframe.
“So for any type of transaction system can now get the safety that we’re all after, which just hasn’t really been attainable up to this point,” says the Vice President Caleb Barlow of threat intelligence at the IBM Security. He also states that being able to achieve IBM Z is also a huge milestone for the Silicon Valley that is specifically dedicated to creating proficient processes of cryptography.
Why does it matter? It protects your data from becoming vulnerable to hacking by keeping it encrypted at all times unless actively processed. But that doesn’t mean it won’t encrypt that particular data again. It does. Briefly decrypts. And then encrypts again.
Besides this encrypt-decrypt-and-encrypt cycle, IBM Z also limits the number of administrators who are able to access raw, readable data. In other words, hackers are highly restricted in targeting worthwhile systems.
However, the IBM Z falls short on two fronts. 1) It isn’t the absolute perfect security many seek as criminals always manage to find ways to attack. But the good thing is that IBM realizes that. Hence, it has added a feature that will be able to sense any intrusion and automatically invalidate all keys. 2) That may, perhaps, gravely hinder its success is its lack of accessibility to all. The IBM Z is only limited to companies that depend on mainframes.
This story was originally published on Wired