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Guardians of the Digital Revolution

Israel's Discretix has a novel approach to protecting data on devices - a hardware-based approach.
By TechIsrael Staff
First Publish: 11/23/2011, 12:05 AM

programmer at work
programmer at work
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There are all sorts of anti-hacking protection schemes out there, but let's face it: Sooner or later, the hackers beat whatever smoke and mirrors we try to put up in their way. And these days, when we use all sorts of devices – like laptops, smartphones, tablets – to access our data remotely, there's more opportunity for data thieves to do their dastardly deeds than ever.

That's because most of our data is (or soon will be) stored in “the cloud,” those ephemeral, remote internet servers “out there somewhere.” Instead of just accessing data on a closed network where it was easy to keep out hackers, we now have to contend with the possibility – likelihood, even – that hackers will figure out a way to get past one of the security systems on one of the devices we use. All it takes for a major data breach is one!

It's to battle this problem that Israel's Discretix has developed a line of embedded security systems which go directly inside a device. In order for a hacker to get at your data without your knowing, they can either read off the server, catching the data as you call it up, or your device. And given the precautions corporations take these days, you can be sure its your side that hackers will be checking out first.

The protection Discretix provides differs from the usual application based authentication systems used in many older devices and on computers; Discretix protection schemes are built into the device – most of which use flash memory - and are an integral part of it, meaning that attempts to disable the protection system would entail removing a chip soldered into the device, probably disabling it altogether. “It's a lot more difficult building protection into chips for small devices, because you have a limited space to work with and keep the price down,” says Jacob Greenblatt, chief strategist of Discretix. Discretix has developed several security platforms, for flash devices, cellphones, handheld devices, and others.

Protecting data on devices goes beyond just ensuring that your information is safe; without that protection, content providers will be far more hesitant to stream anything over the internet or cellular network, out of fear that it could be hijacked and distributed free. “Until content providers are assured that the billions of dollars they have at stake is going to be protected, they are going to be very reluctant to move forward,” says Gal Salomon, CEO of Israeli startup Discretix. Which means that in a sense, Discretix isn't just in the business of protecting data and content, both for users on personal devices, and for content providers. It's in the vanguard of promoting the digital revolution!