Friday, December 26, 2008

Cryptographic Data Splitting? What's that?

Cryptographic data splitting is a new approach to securing information. This process encrypts data and then uses random or deterministic distribution to multiple shares. this distribution can also include fault tolerant bits, key splitting, authentication, integrity, share reassembly, key restoration or decryption.

Most security schema have one or more of the following drawbacks:
  • Log-in and password access often does not provide adequate security.
  • Public-key cryptographic system reliance on the user for security.
  • Private keys stored on a hard drive that are accessible to others or through the Internet.
  • Private keys being stored on a computer system configured with an archiving or backup system that could result in copies of the private key traveling through multiple computer storage devices or other systems
  • Loss or damage to the smartcard or portable computing device in biometric cryptographic systems
  • Possibility of a malicious person stealing a mobile user's smartcard or portable computing device using it to effectively steal the mobile user's digital credentials.
  • The computing device connection to the Internet may provide access to the file where the biometric information is stored making it susceptible to compromise through user inattentiveness to security or malicious intruders.
  • Existence of a single physical location towards which to focus an attack.

Cryptographic data splitting has multiple advantages over current, widely used security approaches because:

  • Enhanced security from moving shares of the data to different locations on one or more data depositories or storage devices (different logical, physical or geographical locations
  • Shares of data can be split physically and under the control of different personnel reducing the possibility of compromising the data.
  • A rigorous combination of the steps is used to secure data providing a comprehensive process of maintaining security of sensitive data.
  • Data is encrypted with a secure key and split into one or more shares
  • Lack of a single physical location towards which to focus an attack

Because of these and other advantages, this approach seems to be a natural for cloud computing.


Platypus said...

New? From the description you give, this sounds a lot like Adi Shamir's secret sharing from 1979. Maybe you need to be more specific about what the novel part is.

Kevin L. Jackson said...

This approach is an advancement to the state-of-the-art. Shamir's work is referenced in the patent filing. See

Platypus said...

The thing that matters about a patent is the claims, not the description. Most of the claims don't even come close to passing the non-obviousness test, as they precisely recapitulate techniques that have been known for over twenty years. Anyone involved with OceanStore, Permabit, Cleversafe, or Allmydata (for example) could show enough prior art to make your head spin. What was the examiner thinking? Maybe this stuff is new to someone, but it's not new to the industry.