IBM develops software that masks confidential info

IBM has developed software, with optical character recognition and screen scraping, that identifies and covers up confidential data.

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IBM has developed software, with optical character recognition and screen scraping, that identifies and covers up confidential data.

According to IBM, the driving idea behind the MAGEN (Masking Gateway for Enterprises) system is to prevent data leakage and allow the sharing of data while safeguarding sensitive business data.

MAGEN works at the screen level by ‘catching' the information before it hits the screen, analysing the screen content, and then masking those details that need to be hidden from the person logged in. The major novelty lies in architecting a single system that handles a wide range of scenarios in a centralised and unified manner, IBM stated.

The IBM system treats the screen of information as a picture and uses optical character recognition to identify the pieces that were defined as confidential. It then places a data 'mask' over the details that need to remain hidden - without ever copying, changing, or processing the data, IBM said.

IBM said customers can set masking rules specify parts of screens to be masked and that such rules can be defined per screen structure or per application. Each role can be defined with a specific privacy level depending on the needs of the customer.

MAGEN does not change the software program or the data - it filters the information before it ever reaches the PC screen - and does not force companies to create modified copies of electronic records where information is masked, scrambled, or eliminated, IBM stated.

IBM cites the example of a MAGEN application where a healthcare firm outsources customer service and claims processing functions to a third-party. Although private medical information in the patient records can't be shared with the contractors, customer service representatives need access to patient records.