IBM Cracks Web 2.0 Security Concerns With 'SMash'

Mar 13, 2008

IBM today announced new technology to secure "mashups," web applications that pull information from multiple sources, such as Web sites, enterprise databases or emails, to create one unified view. Mashups are attractive for business use, as they allow non-technical users to gain insight on complex situations in minutes, but as with all Web-based initiatives, security has been a concern.

IBM is helping businesses realize the value of these situational applications without all the risk, through a new technology created by IBM researchers, codenamed "SMash." Short for secure mashup, this technology allows information from different sources to talk to each other, but keeps them separate so malicious code cannot creep into enterprise systems.

In order to give consumer and business users the opportunity to take advantage of mashup technology, IBM is contributing the SMash technology to the OpenAjax Alliance (openajax.org/). The OpenAjax Alliance is an organization of vendors, open source projects and companies using Ajax that are dedicated to the successful adoption of open and interoperable Ajax-based Web technologies. A founding member of the OpenAjax Alliance, IBM continues to work with the industry to create standards that will support innovation and wide-spread adoption of Web 2.0 technologies.

"Web 2.0 is fundamentally about empowering people, and has created a societal shift in the way we organize, access and use information," said Rod Smith, IBM Fellow & Vice President. "Security concerns can't be a complete inhibitor or clients lose out on the immense benefit mashups bring. The same way you wouldn't buy a car and then later decide to have the seatbelts or airbags installed, as an industry we've learned how to build security into business operations from the ground up instead of tacking it on after the fact."

In February, IBM's prominent X-Force Security Team released the findings of a report, detailing a disturbing rise in the sophistication of attacks by cyber criminals on Web browsers worldwide. According to the study, by attacking a computer user's browser, cyber criminals are able to steal their identity and control the computer without their knowledge. Additionally, when attackers invade an enterprise machine, they could steal sensitive company information or use the compromised machine to gain access to other corporate assets behind the firewall.

SMash addresses a key part of the browser mashup security issue by keeping code and data from each of the sources separated, while allowing controlled sharing of the data through a secure communication channel. Performance evaluations have shown that SMash can be used in common enterprise mashup applications. In fact, IBM plans to include SMash technology in select WebSphere products as well as its commercial mashup maker, Lotus Mashups, expected in the summer. IBM Lotus Mashups is IBM's first commercial mashup maker for business, and will allow non-technical users to create and share mashups in a secure way.

"Each new wave of technology presents new opportunities for the bad guys to poke holes in the integrity of your business," said Michael Pinette, board member for the Open Ajax Alliance and VP of Business Development at Zend Technologies. "The Open Ajax Alliance is thrilled IBM is donating its SMash technology to the industry to inspire innovation with less risk."

Future of Secure Web 2.0

To truly empower the Web community, which is an underlying tenet of this new phase of Web usage and application development, the community first has to be able to share a common access method to a given application. IBM recognizes that the ongoing development of standards-based technologies is a key to enabling more enterprises utilize Web 2.0 technologies.

Mashups provide us with a glimpse into the future of work and how business will be conducted in the 21st century. IBM is in the best position to help clients understand the challenges and opportunities that affect a globally-integrated enterprise. Global integration has become embedded in IBM's workforce, strategy, leadership and operations -- affecting how the company collaborates across time zones and cultures and locates its operations, functions and leadership anywhere in the world based on the right skills and business environment.

A detailed description of SMash will appear in the 17th International World Wide Web Conference, to be held in Bejing, China, in April 2008.

Source: IBM

Explore further: Enhancing efficiency of multi-core processors

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New research signals big future for quantum radar

35 minutes ago

A prototype quantum radar that has the potential to detect objects which are invisible to conventional systems has been developed by an international research team led by a quantum information scientist at the University ...

Living in the genetic comfort zone

2 hours ago

The information encoded in the DNA of an organism is not sufficient to determine the expression pattern of genes. This fact has been known even before the discovery of epigenetics, which refers to external ...

'Bright spot' on Ceres has dimmer companion

3 hours ago

Dwarf planet Ceres continues to puzzle scientists as NASA's Dawn spacecraft gets closer to being captured into orbit around the object. The latest images from Dawn, taken nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers) ...

Key facts on US 'open Internet' regulation

3 hours ago

A landmark ruling by the US Federal Communications Commission seeks to enshrine the notion of an "open Internet," or "net neutrality." Here are key points:

Recommended for you

Can we track the world's nuclear weapons?

6 minutes ago

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has unveiled an interactive infographic that tracks the number and history of nuclear weapons in the nine nuclear weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, C ...

Emerging world drives cheap smartphone boom

40 minutes ago

Phone and Internet firms are rolling out cheaper handsets and may turn to hot-air balloons to boost network coverage in developing countries, where sales of smartphones are booming.

Clinton used personal email account as Secretary of State

52 minutes ago

Hillary Rodham Clinton used a personal email account during her time as secretary of state, rather than a government-issued email address, potentially hampering efforts to archive official government documents ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.