[cryptography] Homomorphic split-key encryption OR snake oil crypto

Ali, Saqib docbook.xml at gmail.com
Sat Feb 18 20:07:23 EST 2012

What crypto mumbo jumbo is this?

From: http://www.porticor.com/2012/02/thewhir-q-and-a/

Lets’ define the challenge, first. Customers want to both have their
cake and eat it: they want security and they want to enjoy the
flexibility offered by modern clouds. Let’s demystify the terms “split
key” and “homomorphic”. To understand “split key”, think about a bank
safe that has two keys, one is held by the customer (call it the
“master key”) and another is held by the banker. The advantage is
that, if the master key is stolen, the banker will still protect your
secrets; and yet the banker is unable to view the secrets in the safe
since he does not have the master key. Bankers have been doing that
for hundreds of years, only now we bring such an approach to the cloud
with some cool technology.

In business terms, this means that neither Porticor nor the cloud
provider know the customer keys, leaving control in customer hands.
“Homomorphic” capabilities will make this split-key approach even
stronger.  Homomorphic encryption allows keys themselves to be
encrypted, and to be used and managed without ever having to decrypt
them. This is attractive for cloud users – it guarantees their keys
remain private in the cloud, unknown to cloud providers, security
vendors and hackers. This patented approach is available for the first
time as the Porticor Virtual Private Data system.

Can somebody explain me how this so-called Homomorphic split-key
encryption works?

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