Intel signed an agreement with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to perform its Data Protection in Virtual Environments (DPRIVE) program. This program’s main goal is to develop an accelerator for fully homomorphic encryption.
For fully homomorphic encryption
The multiyear program represents a cross-team effort across multiple Intel groups, including Intel Labs, the Design Engineering Group and the Data Platforms Group, to tackle “the final frontier” in data privacy, which is computing on fully encrypted data without access to decryption keys.
Rosario Cammarota, principal engineer, Intel Labs, and principal investigator, DARPA DPRIVE program, said,
“Fully homomorphic encryption remains the holy grail in the quest to keep data secure while in use. Despite strong advances in trusted execution environments and other confidential computing technologies to protect data while at rest and in transit, data is unencrypted during computation, opening the possibility of potential attacks at this stage. This frequently inhibits our ability to fully share and extract the maximum value out of data. We are pleased to be chosen as a technology partner by DARPA and look forward to working with them as well as Microsoft to advance this next chapter in confidential computing and unlock the promise of fully homomorphic encryption for all.”
Although many rely on a variety of data encryption methods to protect information while it is in transit, in use and at rest, these techniques require that data be decrypted for processing. Fully homomorphic encryption enables users to compute on always-encrypted data, or cryptograms. The data never needs to be decrypted, reducing the potential for cyber threats.
Under the DARPA DPRIVE program, Intel plans to design an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) accelerator to reduce the performance overhead currently associated with fully homomorphic encryption. When fully realized, the accelerator could deliver a massive improvement in executing FHE workloads over existing CPU-driven systems, potentially reducing cryptograms’ processing time by five orders of magnitude.