IBM and Seagate use Blockchain to tackle counterfeit hard drives

IBM Blockchain Platform logo

IBM and Seagate have teamed up to build a blockchain security service that can identify counterfeit hard drives to prevent manufacturers, integrators and business partners being duped by fake equipment.

The technology is based upon IBM's Blockchain Platform, combined with Seagate's Secure Electronic ID (eID) when they're built, verifying the authenticity of components. The jointly-developed initiative will use a unique identifier built into the hard drives that can be used to make sure it's genuine throughout its lifecycle.

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

The verification will also employ Seagate's Certified Erase that integrates Seagate's cryptographic erasure technology to create a digital certificate that is digitally signed by the device using the company's public key infrastructure (PKI). This is stored on the blockchain so it cannot be changed, without affecting data privacy.

Together, these technologies will ensure any Seagate hard drives have been verified as genuine and this data will remain secure on the blockchain. When the time comes for the hard drive to be taken out of service, the data can be securely erased, adhering to data privacy laws.

"IBM has a proven history of technology innovation as evidenced by its market leadership in blockchain technology for product provenance in various industries," said Mark Re, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Seagate. "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."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.