comscore Scientists develop a new method to boost cyber security
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Scientists develop a new method to boost cyber security

Indian scientist has developed breakthrough method to secure everything from consumer credit card transactions to military communications.

  • Updated: May 18, 2016 11:05 AM IST
cyber-security

Computer scientists, including an Indian-origin student at the University of Texas at Austin, have developed a new method for producing truly random numbers – a breakthrough that can be used to encrypt data and improve cyber security. The new method creates truly random numbers with less computational effort than other methods, which could facilitate significantly higher levels of security for everything from consumer credit card transactions to military communications. Also Read - Instagram critical bug fixed by Facebook, could allow hackers to turn your phone into a spying tool

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This can also make electronic voting more secure, conduct statistically significant polls, and more accurately simulate complex systems such as the Earth’s climate. “This is a problem I have come back to over and over again for more than 20 years. I’m thrilled to have solved it,” said computer science professor David Zuckerman. Also Read - Hackers using Google Meet and Zoom to target users: Here's how

Zuckerman and graduate student Eshan Chattopadhyay publicly released a draft paper describing their method for making random numbers in an online forum. The new method takes two weakly random sequences of numbers and turns them into one sequence of truly random numbers.

ALSO READ : Ravi Shankar Prasad discusses cyber-security cooperation with Swedish PM

Weakly random sequences, such as air temperatures and stock market prices sampled over time, harbour predictable patterns. Truly random sequences have nothing predictable about them, like a coin toss.

“When I heard about it, I couldn’t sleep,” said Yael Kalai, senior researcher working in cryptography at Microsoft Research New England. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it. I ran to the (online) archive to look at the paper. It’s really a masterpiece, he added.

An important application for random numbers is in generating keys for data encryption that are hard for hackers to crack. Data encryption is critical for making secure credit card purchases and bank transactions, keeping personal medical data private and shielding military communications from enemies.

ALSO READ: Cyber security to create 1 million jobs in India by 2025: Nasscom

“One common way that encryption is misused is by not using high-quality randomness. So in that sense, by making it easier to get high-quality randomness, our methods could improve security,” Zuckerman noted.

Zuckerman and Chattopadhyay will present their method at the annual Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in June.

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  • Published Date: May 18, 2016 11:00 AM IST
  • Updated Date: May 18, 2016 11:05 AM IST



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