First in the UAE; Cryptography Research Centre unveils secure cloud technologies program

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Research Council’s (ATRC) applied research pillar Technology Innovation Institute (TII) has revealed that its Cryptography Research Centre (CRC) has launched the UAE’s first secure cloud technologies program in order to promote advanced technologies in the region.

According to the company statement, the program will boost technologies that improve data privacy and cloud encryption schemes.

TII said, “Its secure cloud technologies program intends to advance Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), including fully homomorphic encryption (FHE), a form of encryption that permits users to perform computations on encrypted data without first decrypting it, and secure multi-party computation (MPC), creating methods for parties to jointly compute a function over their inputs while keeping those inputs private.”

This line of research will be combined with the field of Machine Learning verifiable computation to provide proof of correctness for an Inference-as-a-Service use case where data privacy is not necessary.

The research team in charge is also collaborating with the hardware cryptography team to create FHE hardware accelerators that offload such computing tasks to specialized hardware components within the device, resulting in increased performance.

Faisal Al Bannai
Faisal Al Bannai

“Cloud computing has undergone significant growth in the last decade which has raised security and privacy challenges. Traditional approaches still require data to be decrypted for processing and a cloud-centralized key management system, thus exposing both the data and the secret key to cloud providers. This underscores the importance of launching this program by our researchers at TII’s Cryptography Research Centre.”

“FHE allows performing arbitrarily complex, dynamically chosen computations on data while it remains encrypted despite not having the secret decryption key. Moreover, FHE is a key enabler for multi-party computation (MPC) protocols implementing oblivious federated learning models, which are on the rise in critical infrastructure data transfer,” said Dr. Najwa Aaraj, Chief Researcher at the Cryptography Research Centre.

Cryptography Research Centre

The Cryptography Research Centre, one of Technology Innovation Institute’s seven initial dedicated research centers, employs and collaborates with scientists in a variety of cryptography fields, including post-quantum cryptography, hardware-based cryptography, lightweight cryptography, cryptanalysis, cryptographic protocols, and cloud encryption schemes.

Besides, the Centre is one of the few in the world that brings together theoretical and applied cryptographers in a research environment. The cryptographers collaborate on breakthrough research projects that lead to innovative outcomes.

Related: UAE’s technology breakthrough; Develops its first ‘Quantum Computer’