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Tech Firm Seagate Pilots Anti-Fraud Blockchain Tracking With IBM

Data storage giant Seagate has extended its blockchain work intended to gauge the fraud-fighting potential of the tech.

According to a piece from Forbes, following on from a proof-of-concept that kicked off in 2018 in partnership with IBM, Seagate is moving a blockchain-based product tracking trial to the pilot stage to asses how scalable a possible live platform could be.

Manuel Offenberg, Seagate’s research group managing technologist of data security, told Forbes that, while the pilot is not yet launched, the firm has already given approval.

The hard-drive tracking blockchain project monitors products sent via several steps to the customer, which for the trial is also IBM as a major consumer of Seagate products. Any product returns are also tracked back to Seagate. In a real-world offering, this would help ensure that counterfeit drives are not sent back in place of the genuine article.

Another potential use case for the platform, especially in Europe under the 2016 General Data Protection Regulation, would be to verify that any drives returned for defects or other reasons have undergone a possible “certified erase” process to remove any user data.

“When a drive … comes back as part of its returns process, if we can prove that the drive was cryptographically erased, and therefore, the information is no longer on the device, then, from a risk perspective, this reverse supply chain can treat that device differently,” said Offenberg.

Monty Forehand, Seagate product security officer, said in the report that, while the firm’s products already have a QR code-based brand protection tag, it doesn’t utilize blockchain. If the supply chain pilot goes well, and depending on other factors, that could soon change.

Seagate image via Shutterstock

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