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Monday, April 10, 2006
New Encryption Chip From IBM

IBM has developed a new method designed to increase the security of consumer products, medical devices, defense systems and digital media by injecting encryption capabilities into the heart of the machines.

The set of encryption called SecureBlue was unveiled on Monday and is aimed at increasing the level of data security on portable computers, cell phones and other gadgets.

SecureBlue differentiates from other encoded datas that can be integrated in specialized softwares or chips, in that it is performed by the computer's central processing unit (CPU) and it can be integrated into any processor, regardless of its manufacturer.

IBM is not the first to seek to integrate encryption into a computer's CPU. Intel's upcoming "LaGrande" technology essentially does that, though it requires interaction with a separate chip, known as a trusted platform module.

According to IBM researchers, their integrated encryption to will skip that step.

However, IBM's encryption engine is not a module that can be simply plugged into existing chips. SecureBlue needs to be woven into a processor and mixed in with other transistors.

For the moment, SecureBlue can only be integrated into devices that hire IBM's custom engineering unit.

The project includes chips for medical and defense systems and video game consoles made by Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.

IBM researchers claim SecureBlue already has made its way into one of their customer's devices, but refused to disclose the identity saying their client had demanded anonymity.

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