IBM develops advanced security software

MAGEN to boost privacy levels in corporations

IBM Research Haifa has developed software that more efficiently hides sensitive or personal information that might otherwise appear on the computer screens of unauthorized personnel.

When refined and fully developed, this technology — dubbed MAGEN (Masking Gateway for Enterprises), the Hebrew word for “shield” — might help organizations better comply with privacy laws, and lessen the vulnerability of information to theft.

In the course of developing the MAGEN proof-of-concept, IBM applied for two U.S. patents, including one for unique ways of manipulating images, and one for scrambling words. MAGEN treats information on the screen as a picture, and relies on optical character-recognition technology to determine which onscreen fields need to be blanked out or replaced with random values.

Unlike other solutions, MAGEN does not change the software program or the data itself, it filters the information before it ever reaches the PC screen, and does not force companies to create modified copies of electronic records where information is masked, scrambled, or eliminated.

“MAGEN’s screen masking approach eliminates the need to painstakingly tailor ‘data masking’ solutions to specific environments,” says Haim Nelken, Manager Integration Technologies at the IBM’s Haifa, Israel Research Lab, where MAGEN was developed. “The bottom line is faster performance, simpler database security, and reduced costs for protecting sensitive data.”

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IBM develops advanced security software