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Microsoft and IBM Researchers Develop a Lie Detector For the Cloud

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An early use of the polygraph for lie detection.

A new software called Pinocchio can be used to see if a cloud service is performing as promised.


IBM and Microsoft researchers have created software dubbed Pinocchio that can be used to see if a cloud service performed its promised work, or whether it may have been compromised and forced to do something inappropriate.

Pinocchio converts a set of operations written in the C programming language into a version with a verification system embedded within the code. The new set is then delivered to the cloud service that is doing the work. Conversion also generates a verification key that can be used to check that the results sent back by the cloud service were actually produced by performing the operations requested.

"The verification key behaves like a digital signature, in that you can provide it to any third party to check a result," says Microsoft researcher Bryan Parno.

Pinocchio also could be used to enhance privacy by supplying a reliable way for companies to remotely process personal data rather than send it back to their central servers. Previous deployments of such a system demonstrated that checking a result took more time than executing the work itself.

Parno says Pinocchio has been shown through testing to be less intensive for certain mathematical operations, including those at the heart of some recommendation systems.

From Technology Review
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