IBM Launches Cloud-Based Technology to Protect Against Identity Theft

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IBM launched a cloud-based program that allows authentication without information sharing. Identity Mixer was added to the BlueMix developer platform this week.

The software uses cryptographic algorithms to act as a middleman, providing confirmation by transmitting a token along with a pseudonym for the user whose information is being protected. This allows Identity Mixer to confirm to a service requesting authentication, for instance that a user is old enough, without providing their date of birth, or that a user has sufficient credit for a transaction, without providing their balance.

“When people don’t have to disclose their personal information on the Web, the risk of identity theft is dramatically reduced,” John Clippinger, senior fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School said. “The ability to anonymize transactions using Identity Mixer has the potential to bolster consumer confidence, opening digital floodgates to new forms of Internet commerce.”

Identity Mixer is now available to developers for testing in their applications and web services, with BlueMix providing the code to secure specific types of data. For it to open any digital floodgates, those developers, and then also web users will have to be convinced of its benefit.

“Identity Mixer enables users to choose precisely which data to share, and with whom,” said Christina Peters, IBM chief privacy officer, according to Cloud Tech News. “Now web service providers can improve their risk profile and enhance trust with customers, and it’s all in the cloud making it easy for developers to program.”

IBM will contribute Identity Mixer to the open source Eclipse Higgins project, which seeks to develop “user-centric” identity management.

A decade of research went into Identity Mixer, Cloud Tech News reports, and IBM’s long term cloud strategy seems to be paying off, as the company recently announced it had made its $7 billion target for annual cloud revenue on the back of a 60 percent increase.

There is clearly opportunity for further cloud revenue from personal data protection, as an IBM report earlier in January showed that retail cyberattacks are becoming more efficient at extracting records.

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