Abu Dhabi’s crypto library can prevent Covid-19 data leak

Photo: Alamy
Photo: Alamy

Abu Dhabi - The library is a first-of-its-kind development in the UAE

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 25 Dec 2020, 4:22 PM

Researchers in Abu Dhabi have developed a novel crypto library that can empower the country to safeguard vital and confidential information in data-sensitive sectors like healthcare, finance and telecommunications.

The National Crypto Library — a first-of-its-kind development in the UAE — can crucially prevent leaking of medical records related to Covid-19 in the country.

Built by experts at Technology Innovation Institute’s Cryptography Research Centre, the library is a vital tool and a solid defence mechanism against cyberattacks. And work is underway to integrate it into the UAE’s critical digital infrastructure.

Dr Najwa Aaraj, chief researcher at the centre, said the library is a collection of algorithms used to enable protection of data from a confidentiality, integrity and authentication perspective.

“The library can be used to protect the confidentiality of stored data and data being communicated, meaning only intended users can manage to read the data in cleartext format. This applies to all sectors, including medical records, insurance records, financial records, communicated data — voice over signaling layer, voice and video over Internet Protocol layer, text, email, web conferences and others,” Dr Aaraj told Khaleej Times.

Protecting sensitive data, information

The library can ensure confidentiality of Covid-19 test results, treatment and vaccination records.

“This library enables detection of any tampering and unintended modifications of sensitive data. It provides a mechanism for user ‘A’ to ensure that she/he is indeed talking with a specific user ‘B’ before the conversation starts. Along the same logic, this library can be used to protect all medical records related to Covid-19. It allows protecting confidentiality. For example, only the doctor and intended users can see test results, vaccine records, treatment records, etc. The library will ensure their integrity, i.e., any tampering or modification of such data can be detected, and also the authentication of users intended to see the results. The library provides all security algorithms required to protect the applications being used to trace Covid-19 cases, log results, etc,” Dr Aaraj added.

The Technology Innovation Institute is the applied research pillar of the Advanced Technology Research Council. The Cryptography Research Centre is currently collaborating with scientists in multiple crucial fields of cryptography. The centre is among the few globally to bring together theoretical and applied cryptographers in a research-oriented setting for innovative outcomes.

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