Massimo Bertaccini, Cryptolab: “private users can hold legitimate ownership of their data”
It’s no secret that our online behavior patterns are now categorized as highly valuable information. Frequently visited websites, clicked ads, search queries, and other daily online activities reveal sensitive data that’s targeted not only by companies but also malicious threat actors.
Gathered information is often either used for marketing purposes or exploited to gain illegal profits, whether that would be selling it to third parties or used to steal identities. Fortunately, many users are already protecting their data by taking advantage of VPN services or other proxy solutions.
However, today we talked about alternative security measures with Massimo Bertaccini, the CEO and Co-Founder of Cryptolab – a company that develops secure cryptographic solutions.
Since Cryptolab has been around for a decade now, would you like to share what has your journey been like throughout the years?
Cryptolab started as a Cryptography Research Lab in 2009. At that time, I fulfilled my first patent in Cryptography MB09 – a system for decentralized anonymous digital payments. That crypto patent will soon be reissued in a new version that is tailored for Blockchain applications. After this cryptosystem, many other algorithm and system patents followed, including Private/Public Key Encryption, Homomorphic Encryption, Crypto Search Engine (CSE). Three additional patents, specifically for Quantum Cryptography, are in the pipeline.
The IP of Cryptolab is now composed of four encoded platforms:
- Brain Password
Moreover, among our IP, there are several patents, trade secrets, and many other patents scheduled for application for 2022.
Cryptolab is now speaking with several partners that will help CryptoLab significantly increase its marketing reach into new customer sectors. We are currently working with a US partner to expand our market footprint in North America. I can’t tell you more right now, but I will update you soon.
Tell us a little bit about the CSE solution. What are its key features?
CSE represents a technological solution based on isomorphism – a transformation that preserves information privacy because it offers searching, browsing, and manipulation of encrypted data while keeping these search and analytic efforts anonymous. In other words, CSE provides zero-knowledge to those who might be monitoring the searches. The encrypted, sensitive data stored on public cloud providers will be fully accessible only by data owners. Cloud providers will be able to offer searching, browsing, and manipulation of encrypted data through encrypted queries, thereby preserving zero knowledge. CSE can operate independently according to the kind of encryption that the user decides to adopt.
On the one hand, private users can hold legitimate ownership of their data value and eventually trade it back to service providers through a fair deal, which is very different from the take-it-or-leave-it approach that we currently witness. This is a key value for the next generation of digital citizens who could also exchange or sell their data autonomously.
On the other hand, public administrations, institutions, and critical infrastructures would be permitted to use a multiplicity of public cloud providers for safe and redundant data storage, with an important impact in terms of reduced costs and enabling access to tools for big data analysis.
The searching, browsing, and manipulation of encrypted data is a unique and unprecedented feature that will disrupt any business model where sensitive digital data is generated, communicated, stored, or processed.
Finally, CSE is the perfect vaccine against ransomware, as it can also help systems restore their data after breaches. Thus, making ransom requests useless.
Why should more organizations be concerned with file encryption?
File encryption is crucial to preserve data security. However, encryption of the file is not enough to guarantee privacy. For example, if processed files need to be decrypted, the data host could spy on them. Moreover, if ransomware or other attacks occur, the content will be compromised if data doesn't remain encrypted. This scenario is always more dangerous because ransomware infiltration techniques are becoming more sophisticated and AI-based.
How did the pandemic affect Cryptolab? Did you add any new services as a result?
The pandemic was a terrible period for me and my family. But we always find the energy and determination to overcome bad situations. So during the lockdown, my team and I implemented and patented a system called Covid-Free. This product can regulate access at a particular data transaction gate in an anonymous way, thus preventing people from tracking the data exchange. The platform is linked to our Homomorphic Search Engine (CSE). Differently from other systems that collect data from people, Covid-Free gives the green or red light based on an AI encryption algorithm. This method can improve upon the information collected (but not exposed) to perform an automated triage.
And finally, what does the future hold for Cryptolab?
Cryptolab is an extremely innovative company that looks for opportunities to invent the future. Some innovations are already present in the market, such as our Crypto Search Engine. But we have other inventions and patents related to cybersecurity and authentication, like Brain Password.
This is a system made of hardware and special software that can unlock a device or an application using brain waves. It’s not science fiction. In collaboration with a group of neuroscientists, we have developed a Beta version that demonstrates how to unlock an application or a device (cellphone) using brain waves as a password that uniquely identifies the user.
But Cryptolab wants to go well beyond this application of brain waves to significantly increase the communication between the computer’s digital world and that of our biological neural network.
Finally, another field into which Cryptolab is placing much research is quantum-based cryptography – tailored to meet the challenges and opportunities of Quantum computing.