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Stronger Cryptography coming

Many cryptography researchers have been trying to devise a way to encrypt messages that do not require “pre-shared keys”. Now  this seems very possible! And we have the researchers from University of California, Amsterdam Cryptology and Information Security Group, and Microsoft Research India to thank for it!

FBI Breaks heavy encryption

How? “Position-based quantum cryptography”. It will be formally presented at the  2010 IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science coming this October. Basically, it theorizes that a person can  send  securely encrypted messages to its designated receiver. What are the conditions? The receiver  should be at a particular location (preferably a secured military facility), there is no  need of private or authenticated channels, and no need to use pre-shared keys. Amazing, is it not?


The researchers said in their paper that “geographical position” would play a big role in making position-based cryptography work. This opens many possibilities and interesting applications in the field of cryptography. Best of all, the researchers have found a way to use quantum mechanics to establish the location of the receiver in such a way that it cannot be faked. By using existing laws of physics, there is also no need to create new infrastructures.


By improving on existing research, the team was able to formulate a way for the sender to verify the location of the recipient using a protocol that sends the quantum equivalent bits to a receiver who has to respond correctly when sent random challenges. The principle of no-cloning in quantum mechanics ensures that only the receiver should be able to answer correctly. This would ensure that only the receiver would be able to convert the message into readable text.  


Although purely theoretical, this will surely be amazing when it could be properly applied. Experts say it will take more time, research, and testing before we could see any practical applications for this research. But who knows, maybe in the next decade we will be seeing real-world application to this incredibly interesting research.


A PDF copy of the research paper. Authors of this paper are: Nishanth Chandran, Ran Gelles, and Rafail Ostrovsky(University of California); Serge Fehr (Cryptology and Information Security Group); and Vipul Goyal(Microsoft Research).



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