May 24, 2022

Abu Dhabi Technology Innovation Institute Unveils UAE’s First Secure Cloud Technology Program

The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) Abu Dhabi, today announced that its Cryptography Research Center (Cryptography Research Center, CRC) had launched the UAE’s first secure cloud technologies program, aimed at boosting advanced technologies that improve data privacy and cloud encryption schemes.

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Dr Najwa Aaraj, Chief Research Officer, Cryptography Research Centre, Technology Innovation Institute (Photo: Business Wire)

The TII said the goal of its Secure Cloud Technologies program is to advance Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET), including Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE), a form encryption system that allows users to perform calculations on encrypted data without first decrypting it, and to secure Multi-Party Computation (MPC), by creating methods that allow the parties involved to jointly calculate a function on their entrances while keeping these entrances private. This line of research will be coupled to the field of verifiable computation for machine learning, in order to provide proof of accuracy for an inference-as-a-service use case, when data privacy is not required.

The responsible research team is also partnering with the hardware cryptography team to develop FHE hardware accelerators, in order to offload certain IT tasks to specialized hardware components within the system, thus enabling greater efficiency.

Speaking during the announcement, His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), said, “Cloud computing has experienced significant growth over the past decade, which has raised security and privacy concerns. Traditional approaches still require data decryption for processing, and a key management system, centralized in the cloud, thus exposing the data and the secret key to cloud providers. This underlines the importance of the launch of this program by our researchers at the Cryptography Research Center, TII. ”

Dr. Najwa Aaraj, Chief Researcher at the Cryptography Research Center, underlined for his part: “The FHE makes it possible to perform arbitrarily complex and dynamically chosen calculations on data, while the latter remain encrypted, despite the absence of a secret decryption key. Additionally, the FHE is a key enabler for Multi-Party Computing Protocols (MPCs) implementing unconscious federated learning models, which are on the rise in the transfer of critical infrastructure data. ”

“The TII’s implementation of the secret-sharing-based MPC takes advantage of the building blocks of the FHE, to provide active security and optimized preprocessing, helping to accelerate the unconscious implementation of machine learning models.” She explained. In addition, “the FHE retains a high intensity of calculations. TII researchers are also developing hardware accelerators, based on the analysis of major components and operations, and targeted enhancements, using ASIC and several FPGA platforms. Another direction includes implementation on on-board processors with an extensible instruction set architecture. ”

The Cryptography Research Center, one of the first seven, specialized research centers of the Technology Innovation Institute, employs and collaborates with scientists in several areas of cryptography, such as post-quantum cryptography, physical cryptography, lightweight cryptography, cryptanalysis, cryptographic protocols, and cloud encryption schemes, among others. The Center is also among the few in the world to bring together theoretical and applied cryptographers in a research-oriented setting. Cryptographers collaborate on groundbreaking research projects that lead to innovative results.

To learn more about the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), visit www.tii.ae

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