IBM - Hyper Protect Crypto Services

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Basic Information

IBM Hyper Protect Crypto Services is a cloud service that provides highly secure and tamper-resistant cryptographic key management and encryption capabilities. It is designed to help organizations protect their sensitive data and comply with security and privacy regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

Hyper Protect Crypto Services uses FIPS 140-2 Level 4 certified hardware security modules (HSMs) to store and protect cryptographic keys. These HSMs are designed to resist physical tampering and provide high levels of security against cyber attacks.

The service provides a range of cryptographic services, including key generation, key management, digital signature, encryption, and decryption. It supports industry-standard cryptographic algorithms such as AES, RSA, and ECC, and can be integrated with a variety of applications and services.

What is a Hardware Security Module

A hardware security module (HSM) is a dedicated cryptographic device that is used to generate, store, and manage cryptographic keys and protect sensitive data. It is designed to provide a high level of security by physically and electronically isolating the cryptographic functions from the rest of the system.

The way an HSM works can vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer, but generally, the following steps occur:

  1. Key generation: The HSM generates a random cryptographic key using a secure random number generator.

  2. Key storage: The key is stored securely within the HSM, where it can only be accessed by authorized users or processes.

  3. Key management: The HSM provides a range of key management functions, including key rotation, backup, and revocation.

  4. Cryptographic operations: The HSM performs a range of cryptographic operations, including encryption, decryption, digital signature, and key exchange. These operations are performed within the secure environment of the HSM, which protects against unauthorized access and tampering.

  5. Audit logging: The HSM logs all cryptographic operations and access attempts, which can be used for compliance and security auditing purposes.

HSMs can be used for a wide range of applications, including secure online transactions, digital certificates, secure communications, and data encryption. They are often used in industries that require a high level of security, such as finance, healthcare, and government.

Overall, the high level of security provided by HSMs makes it very difficult to extract raw keys from them, and attempting to do so is often considered a breach of security. However, there may be certain scenarios where a raw key could be extracted by authorized personnel for specific purposes, such as in the case of a key recovery procedure.

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