After becoming available a few weeks ago for macOS, iOS and Android, the IBM Fully Homomorphic Encryption Toolkit can now be installed on various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS.

According to IBM, FHE (Fully Homomorphic Encryption) can have a dramatic impact on data security and privacy, allowing direct computation on encrypted data. FHE eliminates a major stage of traditional encrypted systems, where data must first be decrypted before being processed and thus vulnerable to theft or tampering.

In 2009, IBM invented FHE, which was hailed as the "holy grail" of cloud security. The idea is simple, you can now process sensitive data without providing unencrypted access to that sensitive data. In short, you can't steal information when you can't understand it (even when it's visible). To give you a practical example, insurance companies can perform analyzes on patients' healthcare data, without personally identifiable information being visible to the insurer.

Initially FHE was too slow for practical use, but now we are 11 years later, and cryptography has reached a turning point where its performance is now usable. What once required a few days and a PhD in computer science can now be done in minutes by developers.

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