Fortanix addresses enterprise blockchain security requirements with private key protection

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Fortanix announced it is addressing enterprise blockchain security requirements by enhancing its Self-Defending Key Management Service (SDKMS) Hardware Security Module (HSM) solution with cryptographic algorithms and new data protection features and to help organizations secure encryption keys for blockchain and financial information.

Enterprise blockchain has the potential for transformative benefits. By adopting a blockchain style ledger system, organizations can increase efficiency and enhance collaboration internally and across business ecosystems.

However, blockchain has the potential to carry economic value. Private keys, regarded as the identity and security credential, are associated with financial value, which is attractive to attackers.

According to Gartner, “While the blockchain ledger uses sound cryptography, the collection of technologies that make up the entire blockchain still carries significant risks…The use of certificates in the blockchain poses some unique challenges. For example, if a user’s private key is lost or stolen, it could potentially lock them out of the blockchain permanently.”

“iExec is building the first marketplace for trading computing resources in the world,” said Lei Zhang, Security R&D manager, iExec.

“iExec platform provides blockchain-based DApps (Decentralized Applications) with scalable, secure, and easy access to computing resources they need. We are very pleased to collaborate with Fortanix to protect DApps running in iExec decentralized cloud. Fortanix SDKMS delivers secure provisioning of secrets for blockchain DApps ensuring the data remains completely protected.”

Fortanix SDKMS eliminates obstacles to blockchain adoption – secure and compliant encryption key management – by delivering unmatched security for the generation and use of keys.

Complete key management and key usage policies are enforced inside Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) enclaves, ensuring confidentiality and integrity of the policies and private key protection even when in use.

SDKMS delivers HSM-grade security designed for integration into blockchain environments with flexibility of deployment model, application integration with RESTful API support, support for cryptographic algorithms, and policies for key signing and access control.

New SDKMS capabilities helping address blockchain security concerns include a quorum approval (M of N) policy, or multi-signatures (multisig) support, for protection of sensitive key operations.

Organizations can define quorum approval policies, such as approval required by three out of five users, with approval required by specific users or multi-level approvals. Easy-to-use workflows enable secure remote collaboration.

Fortanix SDKMS supports NSA Suite B algorithms. Additionally, with its software-defined approach to HSM and key management, Fortanix delivers support for new algorithms, such as support for ECDSA secp256k1 used by Bitcoin applications.

“Enterprise blockchain can be useful for business transactions and has the potential to carry significant economic value, which inevitably increases the risk of theft and misuse,” said Ambuj Kumar, Fortanix co-founder and CEO.

“Organizations are turning to Fortanix for their blockchain security needs, in order to have complete control over who is allowed on the network, while uniquely securing their blockchain transactions with the industry’s first runtime encryption operating in a secure enclave.”

Organizations can deploy Fortanix SDKMS appliance nodes centrally or in a distributed manner. In each case, the Fortanix SDKMS cluster delivers centralized key management capabilities to any blockchain application or any device.

For organizations that prefer a SaaS consumption model, Fortanix-powered Equinix SmartKey delivers HSM and key management as a global cloud service.

Regardless of the deployment model, organizations have visibility and control over the entire solution.

Multiple clusters can also be deployed to separate hot and cold wallets – hot wallets being used for frequent usage, while cold wallets keep the majority of tokens in secure tamper-proof storage.

In addition, the Fortanix Runtime Encryption plug-in capability allows organizations to customize cryptographic logic and run it inside the trusted execution environment of Intel SGX.

This allows policies for key usage, such as applying thresholds, as well as access control to be enforced per an organization’s requirements.

Plug-ins can also support secure key derivation for HD wallets, such as defined by BIP 32. SDKMS runs on hardened FIPS 140-2 Level 3 compliant appliances that deliver physical security.

Fortanix’s SDKMS leverages Runtime Encryption and Intel SGX to deliver security for encryption keys and cryptographic services with software-defined simplicity.

The solution offers consumption models; a hardened appliance; and a SaaS service Equinix SmartKey, powered by Fortanix.

The solution is architected to enable integration for new cloud applications, as well as existing applications with support for both RESTful APIs and traditional cryptographic interfaces, including PKCS#11, JCE and CNG.