Seagate, IBM collaborate to tackle hard drive counterfeiting

Initiative combines IBM Blockchain Platform and Seagate’s advanced 'electronic fingerprinting' and product tracking

Seagate's Re says IBM has a proven history of technology innovation.
Seagate's Re says IBM has a proven history of technology innovation.

Seagate Technology Plc, a provider data storage solutions, and IBM have announced a new collaboration aimed at reducing product counterfeiting using blockchain and security technologies.

The project, which is designed to help manufacturers, systems integrators, and business partners fight counterfeit hard drives, uses the IBM Blockchain Platform to authenticate the provenance of disk drive products, bringing a new level of multi-layered security protection to the data management industry.

According to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, global trade in counterfeit and pirated electronic products has reached more than $1.7trn in value.

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To verify product authenticity, Seagate will update the IBM Blockchain Platform on the IBM Cloud with product authentication data based on the Seagate SecureTM Electronic ID (eID) at the point of manufacture. Each unique identifier, which serves as an electronic fingerprint, can be used to verify the identity of a hard drive at any time during its product life cycle.

Seagate said the Certified Erase employs cryptographic erasure technology to produce a digital certificate of data purge, which is electronically signed by the device under the Seagate Secure public key infrastructure (PKI) and stored on the blockchain for compliance management with emerging global data privacy laws.

“Blockchain technology can be extremely effective in confirming provenance and authenticity of assets,” said Bruce Anderson, global managing director, electronics industry, IBM. “The ability to work with Seagate to combine blockchain with advanced cryptographic product identification technology is what sets this work apart, and signals blockchain’s potential to re-imagine the electronics product life cycle management processes. Counterfeit electronic components are a global issue that requires an ecosystem-wide effort to address.”

The eID and Certified Erase capabilities are built on the Seagate secure technology, which can enable higher levels of trust of product provenance and proof of data erasure.

Mark Re, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Seagate, said: “IBM has a proven history of technology innovation as evidenced by its market leadership in blockchain technology for product provenance in various industries.”. Re added that by combining Seagate’s innovations in product security with IBM’s blockchain expertise, the company wants to prove that it can help reduce the incidence of product counterfeiting in the future.”

As project development continues in this combined effort to fight global product counterfeiting, Seagate and IBM are anticipating that they will expand the business network to include participation from supply chain partners.

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