IBM Reveals New Data Masking Technology
IBM pulled the covers off new technology today that uses optical character recognition to conceal data. The data masking tool does not change data but filters it before it reaches the PC screen, making it unnecessary to develop sanitized copies of enterprise data for individual users.IBM researchers have developed new data masking technology they say mixes screen scraping and optical character recognition to conceal confidential data. The platform-agnostic software, codenamed MAGEN (Masking Gateway for Enterprises) works by treating information on the screen as a picture and relying on optical character-recognition technology to determine which onscreen fields need to be blanked out or replaced with random values. According to IBM, unlike other tools, MAGEN does not change the data. Instead, it uses a list of rules to conceal sensitive data before it reaches the PC screen.
"Say, for example, we have a call center in India where agents provide customer support for ABC Rental Car in the U.S.," IBM Public Affairs Manager Ari Fishkind said. "The agent in India isn't running the application on his computer, rather he is running an application from the company's headquarters in the U.S. We add a MAGEN computer to the system -- whether in India, the U.S. or somewhere in between...Basically, our computer catches a bitmap of the screen that is on its way to the agent in India."