HP and Hitachi are to conduct joint work on key security and privacy technology issues.
The HP and Hitachi research collaboration will focus on two primary themes: authenticating users and devices to improve security inside networks, and the use of digital signatures to guarantee the authenticity of document content.
The first theme, said the pair, is being addressed to tackle hacking, computer viruses and worms. To combat these threats, HP and Hitachi researchers are investigating how to ensure that computers used to access corporate networks remotely – from home or from a hotel room, for instance – are appropriately authorised.
The researchers are interested in developing technologies for a secure infrastructure that manages communications based on the authentication of the integrity of both the PC and the user.
This approach will take advantage of authentication technologies such as Hitachi’s Certificate Validation Server (CVS) and the HP ProtectTools Embedded Security PC solution.
The researchers will investigate practical ways to deploy “trusted computing” technology in corporate settings. The goal of the project is to significantly improve IT infrastructure security, while at the same time using lower-cost technology.
The focus of the second theme, content security research, is to address the problem of how to guarantee the integrity of documents and data by using digital signatures while allowing changes to be made to them.
For example, it may be necessary to delete sensitive data such as names and company secrets from a document for reasons of privacy or confidentiality, yet show that the visible portion of the document is authentic.
This process is regularly applied to documents affected by the US Freedom of Information Act and similar laws in other countries. The two companies said this type of technology could also help ensure the authenticity and integrity of audit trails – an important issue for companies complying with legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley.
Content security could also be used to demonstrate the integrity of audit trails - for example to third-party auditors - while still retaining confidentiality and privacy of the data contained within.
“This collaboration highlights HP’s and Hitachi’s common interest in security research and our aim to bring about secure systems and infrastructure technologies for modern enterprise needs,” said Dick Lampman, HP senior vice-president of research.
The research will take place in both the US and Japan. A timescale for introducing new security solutions as a result of the research has not been set.