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Seagate is using IBM Blockchain to fend off computer counterfeiters

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PC parts and accessories - 2011 release

PC parts and accessories – 2011 releaseGetty

The Seagate data conservation giant has a counterfeiting problem. A quick online search reveals numerous guides to help users ensure that the hardware they are putting into their computer is real.

But the problem is actually bigger than the simple customers who buy USB flash drives dress & nbsp;until you look like hard disks. Counterfeits not only make them on some mainstream platforms like eBaybut something called reverse supply chain, when customers return goods, is also vulnerable, increasing the risk that Seagate itself, which generated revenue for $ 11.8 billion this year, will accept the counterfeit products back into the own supplies.

To prevent this from happening, the company in Cupertino, California, has come up with a double plan to cut the $ 100 billion counterfeiting & nbsp;hardware industry from every angle. On the one hand, the hardware itself is subjected to greater protection by using cryptographic signatures similar to those that guarantee that each bitcoin is unique.

But to ensure that the supply chain itself – the actual process by which every part of every product is accounted for when it is moved – is also safe, Seagate has worked quietly with IBM over the past two months to move that process to a blockchain.

If the proof-of-concept, which should be completed by the end of this year, be successful, it could help shed light on the most vulnerable hardware supply chain of computers, which is increasingly regarded as a national security issue .

"We found a unique way to link the physical product to the virtual world, through the blockchain," says Seagate management technology, Manuel Offenberg, who oversees the project. "We think it's here that part of the novelty is where we can really switch from a physical product to the virtual world of the blockchain."

While this effort marks Seagate's first public push into the blockchain, it is also just the continuation of a years-long professional relationship with IBM, according to Offenberg. At least until 2009, Seagate provided hard drives for IBM products and, after a brainstorming session in June, helped confirm Seagate's interest in the underlying technology, companies have formalized their latest project.

Also in the early stages of construction, Offenberg and his team of six people based in Freemont, California, are using the IBM enterprise blockchain that incorporates the open source Hyperledger Fabric to track the movement of goods from the point of production to the point sales and, if necessary, again.

While Seagate's traditional supply chain consists of several brokers that manually scan and insert each piece of the computer into their accounting software, Offenberg hopes the IBM Blockchain solution will help move the process into a single append database that speed up the process and give users more certainty of fraud was not committed. In addition, Offenberg states that some steps, such as effective control of a product, are replicated by IBM, Seagate and other counterparts and could be reduced to a single action.

The same applies to the reverse supply chain, when a customer returns a product to IBM, which returns the product to Seagate, which returns it to a reprocessing facility and can only later be determined if it is eligible to sell on a renewed market.

But the blockchain supply chain is only part of the cryptographic solution. In addition, Seagate will integrate its cryptographic signatures, or electronic IDs (EIDs) at the point of production, to act as a fingerprint for each piece of hardware along each stage of the supply chain. When a hard disk is returned, even the cryptographic proof that the element has been erased within the original jurisdiction will be subjected to hashing on the blockchain.

"On the basis of the information contained in the blockchain we can also quickly verify the origin of the device, in which case, we could cut several steps," says Offenberg. "The demonstration of the concept will tell us in a more concise way what steps can be removed".

In addition to being the first instance of a corporate computer hardware vendor to publicly explore IBM Blockchain, the partnership is unusual because the software vendor, IBM, is also a potential user.

As a customer of Seagate, IBM uses the hardware tracked on this supply chain on its servers and, if the platform is approved for pilot testing following a planned demonstration to the executives of both companies next year, IBM will be probably the first to actually use the platform.

"Initially, the application will be used between Seagate and IBM as we use it in our server production operations," says Bruce Anderson, IBM's global director for the electronics industry and strategy manager for the high-tech of all the computer giants. customers.

In the later stages of adoption, Anderson expects that some smaller companies with low supply chain volumes may decide to license access to the blockchain node of IBM or Seagate, thus reintroducing the concept of middleman in the ledger. shared. On the other hand, larger companies may have more incentives to rotate their knot on the blockchain platform. "If someone's business is currently being counterfeited, it's going to take a big chunk from the way they do business," Anderson added.

Given the unique relationship in which IBM provides both blockchain and cloud computing software and participates in the supply chain, Anderson says it has taken the next step to engage more members of this team to help build the side solution. -by alongside the Seagate team.

"We see that solving the problem of counterfeiting as a client of Seagate is definitely worth it," says Anderson. "We also see this at the sector level that others are going to ask for".

Blockchain supply chain applications and other distributed mixed books are increasingly be sought as a possible evolution of technology made popular by bitcoins. What is at stake is more than the efficiency of the system resulting from the removal of intermediaries and the synchronization of accounting records.

Industry concerns go far beyond the potentially fraudulent Seagate products that move along the supply chain. The administrations of both former President of the United States Barack Obama e current President Trump has issued statements about potential threats to national security that could result from poorly managed supply chains.

More recently, Bloomberg has published a lit. disputed relationship claiming that a poorly managed server supply chain may have caused the malicious surplus to place itself. While blockchain may not necessarily stop this alleged fraud, a shared and immutable ledger could drastically simplify investigations, giving those who believe that fraud exists and to those who do not, evidence to support their case.

As for Seagate, Offenberg declined to comment on whether the blockchain solution he is helping to develop could address the problems raised in the Bloomberg report. On the contrary, he explained that these are still very early for the project and that his company focuses mainly on "bringing levels of trust in our products," although he added: "We are looking at the bigger picture".

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PC parts and accessories - 2011 release

PC parts and accessories – 2011 releaseGetty

The Seagate data conservation giant has a counterfeiting problem. A quick online search reveals numerous guides to help users ensure that the hardware they are putting into their computer is real.

But the problem is actually bigger than just customers who buy USB flash drives to look like hard drives. Counterfeits do not just do it on some mainstream platforms like eBay, but even the reverse supply chain, when customers return goods, is vulnerable, increasing the risk that Seagate itself, which generated $ 11.8 billion this time. ; year, accept its counterfeit reserves

To prevent this from happening, the company from Cupertino, Calif., Has developed a double plan to cut the $ 100 billion counterfeit hardware industry from every angle. On the one hand, the hardware itself is subjected to greater protection by using cryptographic signatures similar to those that guarantee that each bitcoin is unique.

But to ensure that the supply chain itself – the actual process by which every part of every product is accounted for when it is moved – is also safe, Seagate has worked quietly with IBM over the past two months to move that process to a blockchain.

If the proof-of-concept, which should be completed by the end of this year, be successful, it could help shed light on the most vulnerable hardware supply chain of computers, which is increasingly regarded as a national security issue .

"We found a unique way to link the physical product to the virtual world, through the blockchain," says Seagate management technology, Manuel Offenberg, who oversees the project. "We think it's here that part of the novelty is where we can really switch from a physical product to the virtual world of the blockchain."

While this effort marks Seagate's first public push into the blockchain, it is also just the continuation of a years-long professional relationship with IBM, according to Offenberg. At least until 2009, Seagate provided hard drives for IBM products and, after a brainstorming session in June, helped confirm Seagate's interest in the underlying technology, companies have formalized their latest project.

Also in the early stages of construction, Offenberg and his team of six people based in Freemont, California, use the IBM enterprise blockchain incorporating the open-source Hyperledger Fabric to track the movement of goods from the point of production up to the point of sale and, if necessary, again.

While Seagate's traditional supply chain consists of several brokers that manually scan and insert each piece of the computer into their accounting software, Offenberg hopes the IBM Blockchain solution will help move the process into a single append database that speed up the process and give users more certainty of fraud was not committed. In addition, Offenberg states that some steps, such as effective control of a product, are replicated by IBM, Seagate and other counterparts and could be reduced to a single action.

The same applies to the reverse supply chain, when a customer returns a product to IBM, which returns the product to Seagate, which returns it to a reprocessing facility and can only later be determined if it is eligible to sell on a renewed market.

But the blockchain supply chain is only part of the cryptographic solution. In addition, Seagate will integrate its cryptographic signatures, or electronic IDs (EIDs) at the point of production, to act as a fingerprint for each piece of hardware along each stage of the supply chain. When a hard disk is returned, even the cryptographic proof that the element has been erased within the original jurisdiction will be subjected to hashing on the blockchain.

"On the basis of the information contained in the blockchain we can also quickly verify the origin of the device, in which case, we could cut several steps," says Offenberg. "The demonstration of the concept will tell us in a more concise way what steps can be removed".

In addition to being the first instance of a corporate computer hardware vendor to publicly explore IBM Blockchain, the partnership is unusual because the software vendor, IBM, is also a potential user.

As a customer of Seagate, IBM uses the hardware tracked on this supply chain on its servers and, if the platform is approved for pilot testing following a planned demonstration to the executives of both companies next year, IBM will be probably the first to actually use the platform.

"Initially, the application will be used between Seagate and IBM as we use it in our server production operations," says Bruce Anderson, IBM's global director for the electronics industry and strategy manager for the high-tech of all the computer giants. customers.

In the later stages of adoption, Anderson expects that some smaller companies with low supply chain volumes may decide to license access to the blockchain node of IBM or Seagate, thus reintroducing the concept of middleman in the ledger. shared. On the other hand, larger companies may have more incentives to rotate their knot on the blockchain platform. "If someone's business is currently being counterfeited, it's going to take a big chunk from the way they do business," Anderson added.

Given the unique relationship in which IBM provides both blockchain and cloud computing software and participates in the supply chain, Anderson says it has taken the next step to engage more members of this team to help build the side solution. -by alongside the Seagate team.

"We see that solving the problem of counterfeiting as a client of Seagate is definitely worth it," says Anderson. "We also see this at the sector level that others are going to ask for".

Blockchain supply chain applications and other distributed registries are increasingly sought after as a possible evolution of bitcoin-popular technology. What is at stake is more than the efficiency of the system resulting from the removal of intermediaries and the synchronization of accounting records.

Industry concerns go far beyond the potentially fraudulent Seagate products that move along the supply chain. The administrations of former US President Barack Obama and current President Trump have issued statements on potential threats to national security that could result from poorly managed supply chains.

More recently, Bloomberg has published a highly contested report claiming that a poorly managed supply chain of servers may have caused suprarous placement of malicious hardware. While blockchain may not necessarily stop this alleged fraud, a shared and immutable ledger could drastically simplify investigations, giving those who believe that fraud exists and to those who do not, evidence to support their case.

As for Seagate, Offenberg declined to comment on whether the blockchain solution he is helping to develop could address the problems raised in the Bloomberg report. On the contrary, he explained that these are still very early for the project and that his company focuses mainly on "bringing levels of trust in our products," although he added: "We are looking at the bigger picture".

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