Seagate, IBM to Leverage Blockchain to Reduce Hard Drive Counterfeiting

Seagate and IBM will work on a project to reduce hard drive counterfeiting by levering IBM’s blockchain platform.

US data storage company Seagate Technologies announced on Thursday that it was working on a joint project with tech giant IBM. The companies will develop solutions to address the problem of hard drive counterfeiting by leveraging blockchain and security technologies. Under the project, manufacturers, integrators, and partners will work together to reduce counterfeit hard drives with the help of IBM Blockchain Platform. The parties will apply distributed ledger technology (DLT) to authenticate the origin of disk drive products.

IBM Blockchain Platform is IBM’s flagship DLT product. It was developed based on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework provided by the Linux Foundation. The platform enables network participants to add and monitor blockchain data in accordance with their level of permissioning. In the context of the current project with Seagate, IBM Blockchain Platform will help hard drive sellers, service providers, and product users to confirm the provenance on the distributed ledger, which ensures the immutability of event records. This approach might greatly reduce product counterfeiting, data loss, and warranty costs.

Bruce Anderson, global managing director of IBM’s electronics business, commented:

“Blockchain technology can be extremely effective in confirming provenance and authenticity of assets.”

“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 reimagine the electronics product life cycle management processes. Counterfeit electronic components are a global issue that requires an ecosystem-wide effort to address,” he added.

The International Anti-CounterfeitingCoalition estimated that the global trade volume of counterfeit and pirated electronic products had exceeded $1.7 trillion. Based on this premise, Seagate wants to streamline product authenticity verification processes. At the point of manufacturing, the company will update the IBM Blockchain Platform on the IBM Cloud with relevant authentication data through the Seagate Secure™ Electronic ID (eID). Each identifier will act as an electronic fingerprint and will be used to check the ID of a hard drive during its life cycle.

Users can also benefit from Seagate’s Certified Erase feature, which uses cryptographic erasure technology to make all hard drive data unreadable. Thus, the drive can be reused, returned, or disposed securely. The feature will generate a digital certificate that provides the data purge, which is stored on blockchain for compliance with data privacy laws.

The eID and Certified Erase functionalities are available with the Seagate Secure technology, which allows users to benefit from a higher degree of transparency and trust when it comes to hard drive provenance and proof of data erasure. Users will easily understand whether a hard drive product is a genuine Seagate unit and that data can be erased securely at any time.

Mark Re, SVO and CTO at Seagate, commented:

“IBM has a proven history of technology innovation as evidenced by its market leadership in blockchain technology for product provenance in various industries. By combining Seagate’s innovations in product security with IBM’s blockchain expertise, we want to prove that we can help reduce the incidence of product counterfeiting in the future.”

Seagate and IBM are hoping that their business network will grow by adding more supply chain partners.

The hardware company has previously proven to be a believer in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries. For example, earlier this year, Seagate made a significant investment in Ripple, currently the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap. However, betting on XRP has not been the most profitable decision so far, with the coin losing over 100% of its value since February 2018, when the investment was made.

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