A group of researchers from MIT have announced that they have finally cracked the code on an encryption method that not even PRISM, one of the most effective and pervasive NSA information collection methods to date, could match.
Mylar is a new program that runs software inside a pre-secured area of common servers, capable of protecting account information, software, and operating systems from invasion through a sophisticated virtualization method designed specifically for this brand new application.
“You don’t notice any difference, but your data gets encrypted using your password inside your browser before it goes to the server,” said Raluca Popa, the MIT researcher who designed Mylar. “If the government asks the company for your data, the server doesn’t have the ability to give unencrypted data.”
What makes Mylar especially unique is its ability to catalog and archive data in a separate format or encryption key from its own, creating a sort of “separation of church and state” strategy that not even the spooks in Washington could crack through if they wanted to (which they probably do).
“First, Mylar allows the server to perform keyword search over encrypted documents, even if the documents are encrypted with different keys. Second, Mylar allows users to share keys and encrypted data securely in the presence of an active adversary. Finally, Mylar ensures that client-side application code is authentic, even if the server is malicious.”
The drawback here is that although the idea of creating virtualized environments running on an entirely different set of encryption standards is great in theory, in practice the limitation is that not a single piece of software or hardware operating as a part of the backbone of the internet right now would be able to support it, at least not without a total system overhaul from scratch.
The technology is still largely proprietary and won’t work with Linux, OSX, or any version of Windows. Installing this on one server farm, let alone all of them, still seems like a far off pipe dream that may never actually come to be.