Homomorphism is not a new concept. It is an encryption technology that allows specific types of computation to be carried out on cipher text. The results of the computation are also displayed in cipher text. This concept when extended to Cloud based encryption services chains together a number of services related to intellectual property and inter-organizational transactions. These encryption schemes are extremely malleable by design and hash-collision resistant.
Homomorphic encryptions can be fully Homomorphic or partially Homomorphic. Fully Homomorphic systems are considered to be less efficient than partially Homomorphic systems this is because computers can be slowed down by homomorphism and can become resource and time intensive. For instance, when a search term is input into the Cloud software, the Homomorphic system ensures that the server remains unaware of the term while it searches for the matches within the database. As a result every record in the database may be sent back to the search engine for comparison, creating a computational burden that is almost too much to bear. However, Homomorphic encryption is being given a very serious look by Cloud vendors who cater to the needs of agencies involved in surveillance, financial transactions and health care.
Researchers who have built Homomorphic encryption schemes, have fitted together several existing schemes and adopted the positive attributes of functional encryption to arrive at an encryption protocol that may work smoothly in the Cloud in the future. The Homomorphic system uses a public key encryption protocol to encrypt data. Those who object to this, have moved on to develop other encryption protocols such as the Garbled Circuit technique with private key or the attribute based cryptographic protocol with a public key.
The Cloud Homomorphic system comes with an embedded decryption algorithm in a Garbled Circuit. The key is protected with an attribute based algorithm. The encryption is layered to negate the “one use” nature of the Garbled Circuit and gives the server access to a general function.
But, it must be pointed out that Homomorphic algorithm is still very new and is still evolving to embrace the demands of Cloud computing. It is still very resource intensive and not very practical at this stage. It is a promise for the future and it is something that Cloud users can look forward to with anticipation and excitement.
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