IBM Unveils New Cloud Blockchain Security Service

IBM has launched a new blockchain service that uses hardware to protect valuable data, with provenance startup Everledger as its first customer.

AccessTimeIconJul 14, 2016 at 12:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:22 p.m. UTC

IBM today unveiled a new service designed to help businesses test and run blockchain projects meant to handle private or sensitive data.

Dubbed the IBM 'secure blockchain cloud environment', the service is actually an integration of IBM’s existing blockchain cloud offering and IBM LinuxONE, a Linux server designed to protect against 'back doors' the company argues could occur in other cloud-based blockchain networks.

Overall, the company positioned the offering as one that seeks to improve the security of private, enterprise blockchain projects running in cloud environments by securing entry points and fighting against insider threats.

Recently elected IBM Fellow Donna Dillenberger explained how the cloud environment, when tapped into the IBM LinuxOne server, might help protect valuable data tracked by companies on a blockchain.

Dillenberger told CoinDesk:

"The cloud is made up of a special hardware that protects the blockchain from hacks, from people who have unethically compromised root users or system administrator credentials."

Using the security network, blockchain software applications built on IBM Blockchain are signed, encrypted and attested so that malware can't install itself or client applications.

Currently in limited beta, the product, the company said, is designed to provide a safe platform for companies to test the performance of proofs-of-concept and final products.

Additional features of the security network also include provisions intended to help meet security requirements of the financial, healthcare and government sectors and meet compliance requirements.

Securing diamond data

Also announced today, blockchain startup Everledger is using the network to power its global certification system, which tracks items such as diamonds and artwork through the supply chain.

The Everledger integration is intended to protect suppliers, buyers and shippers against theft and counterfeiting of valuable assets.

CEO and founder Leanne Kemp told CoinDesk that while her company has yet to experience direct attacks or "any external threats" since launching last year, the move to secure her service with IBM is a pre-emptive measure.

For example, in October, the Gemological Institute of America invalidated the grading reports of 1,042 diamonds after it was revealed that hackers had accessed the database and altered descriptions including both the color and clarity of the gemstones.

Kemp said such hacks are only just the beginning of future cybersecurity threats across industries as more information is stored in high-powered distributed databases.

Kemp concluded:

"Some of the startups that are working in this space are too worried about the bells and whistles of the blockchain. But it’s actually a very serious technology that needs to be taken very seriously."


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