New security system to ‘revolutionise privacy’

Published: Friday, 03 January 2020 09:52

A new uncrackable security system created by researchers at the University of St Andrews, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Center for Unconventional Processes of Sciences (CUP Sciences) is set to revolutionise communications privacy.

The international team of scientists have created optical chips that enable information to be sent from user to user using a one-time unhackable communication that achieves ‘perfect secrecy’, allowing confidential data to be protected more securely than ever before on public classical communication channels.

The proposed system uses silicon chips that contain complex structures that are irreversibly changed to send information in a one-time key that can never be recreated nor intercepted by an attacker.

The technology overcomes the major threat of quantum computers, which are soon predicted to be able to crack existing communication methods, uses existing communication networks and takes up less space on networks.

The results, published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, open a new pathway towards implementing ‘perfect secrecy’ cryptography at the global scale with contained costs.

First author, Professor Andrea di Falco of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews, said: “This new technique is absolutely unbreakable. It can be used to protect the confidentiality of communications exchanged by users separated by any distance, at an ultrafast speed close to the light limit and in inexpensive and electronic compatible optical chips.”

Leader of the study, Dr Andrea Fratalocchi, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at KAUST, said: “With the advent of more powerful and quantum computers, all current encryptions will be broken in very short time, exposing the privacy of our present and, more importantly, past communications.

“For instance, an attacker can store an encrypted message that is sent today and wait for the right technology to become available to decipher the communication.

“Implementing massive and affordable resources of global security is a worldwide problem that this research has the potential to solve for everyone, and everywhere. If this scheme could be implemented globally, crypto-hackers will have to look for another job.”

The new technique achieves ‘perfect secrecy’ meaning a hacker will never be able to access the information contained in the communication.

Keys generated by the chip, which unlock each message, are never stored and are not communicated with the message, nor can they ever be recreated, even by the users themselves, adding extra security.

More details.