Consumers will now be able to choose the information they want to share online through a new Cloud solution from IBM that will use data protection technology to provide an opportunity for users to have more control of personal information.
Dubbed Identity Mixer, the cloud solution seeks to help users hide private information that include, the date of birth, credit card numbers as well as their home address, through an encryption facilitated for by a cryptographic algorithm that only allows for selective sharing with other parties.
For example, if a site requires that a user must be over 21 years of age to have access to a service, the new solution provides certainty of the requirement by giving information that the user is indeed over the set age and is aged between, say 25 to 100.
The IBM Identity Mixer data protection service promises to cater even for digital wallets which are becoming very popular with the fast-paced growth of the mobile payments usage, where payments are now being made through mobile platforms.
Also with other mobile payments methods that require customers to have an electronic identity card – such as the one Kenya is planning to introduce that will hold multiple information for easier identification, the issuing authorities will not be allowed access to the usage data, according to IBM.
Identity Mixer has also been introduced to protect unsuspecting users who readily share personal information on the internet, either on Social Media, Online Shopping, Banking or even on different websites that require users to first set up their profiles before accessing information.
Designed to reveal only general information about the user, the anonymous credential system can also be used in a series of other electronic functions including, public transport ticketing systems, healthcare portals, electronic voting, web-based subscriptions among others.
Identity Mixer will be available for use on computers as well as mobile devices when accessing any internet services, and makes sure that even the issuer of credentials have absolutely no knowledge when the cloud-centric technology is being used.
With research showing that cyber attacks are expected to evolve in the year 2015 due to the fast adoption of latest technologies such as Social, Mobile, Big Data and the Cloud, Identity Mixer has been built to give the attackers almost useless information.
For example, in an illustration video on how Identity Mixer works, when an e-commerce site is hacked, attackers are usually able to access credit card numbers as well as security codes from the site’s information but now with Identity mixer, attackers will only know that a credit card is valid but with no numbers since they will have initially been protected from the site.
“With Identity Mixer now in the cloud, developers have a very strong cryptographic tool that makes privacy practical; it is a piece of software that you can incorporate into any identity management service to verify that an individual is an authorized user without revealing any other personal information,” said Anna Lysyanskaya , co-inventor of Identity Mixer at IBM Research.
Identity Mixer has now been made available to developers to try it out within their own applications and web services through the tech giant’s new platform-as-a-service (Paas), the IBM Bluemix. Bluemix provides the codes which developers use to secure various data.