After years of data breaches, leaks, and hacks leaving the world desperate for tools to stem the illicit flow of sensitive personal data, a key advance has appeared on the horizon.
On Tuesday, MongoDB is announcing "Queryable Encryption," a feature that will allow database users to search their data while it remains encrypted. The tool, which is debuting in preview as part of MongoDB 6.0, attempts to bridge academic cryptography findings and real-world environments so users can adopt the feature without needing advanced theoretical expertise. Crucially, Queryable Encryption is built to work with existing databases rather than requiring users to re-architect their systems before they can take advantage of it.
Institutions from businesses to governments, health care facilities, and critical infrastructure already lean on encryption to render data unintelligible (and therefore not worth stealing) when it's traveling across networks or sitting in storage. But none of that protects data when it's actively being used for legitimate reasons—looking up a patient's medical records, say, or setting up a car rental reservation. That means an attacker—including a rogue employee—could potentially gain access to data the same way a doctor or customer service agent does. This is a nut everyone wants to crack, and the database maker MongoDB has been working on possible solutions for years. Now, the company says, it has one.
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