IBM and Seagate use blockchain to help combat counterfeit hard drives

05 December 2018

The new system uses an IBM platform based on the Linux Foundation’s distributed ledger framework.

The new system uses an IBM platform based on the Linux Foundation’s distributed ledger framework.

IBM and Seagate have teamed-up in an effort to reduce product counterfeiting using blockchain and security technologies. 

The project, which is designed to help manufacturers, integrators and business partners fight counterfeit hard drives, uses IBM’s cloud-based Blockchain Platform to authenticate the provenance of disk drive products. 

The partners claim they will bring 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 $1.7 trillion in value. 

To verify product authenticity IBM’s Blockchain Platform will be updated using product authentication data based on Seagate’s Secure Electronic ID (eID) at the point of manufacture. 

Each unique identifier is said to serve as an ‘electronic fingerprint’ and can be used to verify the identity of a hard drive at any time during its product lifecycle. 

Secure eID also features Seagate’s cryptographic erasure technology to produce a digital certificate of data purge. 

The company says this is electronically signed by the device under itsSecure public key infrastructure, and stored on the blockchain for compliance management with emerging global data privacy laws.

IBM’s Blockchain Platform uses the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric distributed ledger framework. 

It is designed to allow network participants to append and view blockchain data based on their level of permissioning.

IBM says that throughout a product’s life, technology vendors, service providers and end users will be able to confirm the product’s provenance on the blockchain. 

It says this provides an “immutable” record of events, which can help reduce data loss, fraudulent products and warranty costs, while improving product assurance for customers during deployment.

Bruce Anderson, IBM’s global managing director, electronics industry, says counterfeit electronic components are a global issue that requires an ecosystem-wide effort to address. 

He adds: “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 lifecycle management processes.

"Counterfeit electronic components are a global issue that requires an ecosystem-wide effort to address.”

As their project development continues, IBM and Seagate anticipate expanding the business network to include participation from supply chain partners.