Revamped knapsack code offers online security for the future
Washington State University mathematicians have designed an encryption code capable of fending off the phenomenal hacking power of a quantum computer.
Using high-level number theory and cryptography, the researchers reworked an infamous old cipher called the knapsack code to create an online security system better prepared for future demands.
The findings were recently published in the journal The Fibonacci Quarterly.
Quantum computers are near
Quantum computers operate on the subatomic level and theoretically provide processing power that is millions, if not billions of times faster than silicon-based computers. Several companies are in the race to develop quantum computers including Google.
Internet security is no match for a quantum computer, said Nathan Hamlin, instructor and director of the WSU Math Learning Center. That could spell future trouble for online transactions ranging from buying a book on Amazon to simply sending an email.
Hamlin said quantum computers would have no trouble breaking present security codes, which rely on public key encryption to protect the exchanges.
In a nutshell, public key code uses one public “key” for encryption and a second private “key” for decoding. The system is based on the factoring of impossibly large numbers and, so far, has done a good job keeping computers safe from hackers.
Quantum computers, however, can factor these large numbers very quickly, Hamlin said. But problems like the knapsack code slow them down.
Fortunately, many of the large data breaches in recent years are the result of employee carelessness or bribes and not of cracking the public key encryption code, he said.
A new public key code
Looking to protect future online information, Hamlin and retired mathematics professor William Webb turned to the long-abandoned knapsack code. To bring it up to quantum level – and possibly use it as a new type of public key encryption – the researchers first engineered new numbering systems for the code.
“We used alternate ways of representing numbers,” said Hamlin.
In effect, they created new digital systems with much greater complexity than society’s day-to-day decimal and binary systems.
“By using very complicated number strings, we produced a new version of the knapsack code that can’t be broken by the usual cyber attack methods,” said Webb.
As a result, Hamlin and Webb believe the redesigned knapsack code could offer a viable alternative for public key encryption with quantum computing.
The knapsack problem is a theoretical puzzle dating back to at least 1897 and is very difficult to solve in its most general form.
“Basically, it asks if you have one big number (the knapsack) and lots of small numbers (objects), what is the subset of small numbers (or objects) that will perfectly fill the knapsack? The concept was used to create a code called the knapsack code,” explained Webb.
“The knapsack code was originally suggested as a tool for public key encryption in the 1970s, but it was broken by two different methods and people lost interest in it,” he said.
Webb’s idea to bring it out of storage was at first an intellectual exercise.
“Knapsack is a simple, elegant code but it was broken,” said Webb. “We wondered if it could be fixed and redesigned to be secure. The challenge was intriguing.”
Hamlin said they made corrections at the fundamental level of the code, which repaired many of its weak spots. This let it block a greater array of cyber attacks, including those using basis reduction, one of the decoding methods used to break the original knapsack code, he said.
“Basis reduction is a big hammer to use against this code and, after testing, we think it’s secure against this type of attack and would offer an alternative code for quantum computing,” Hamlin said.
The Latest on: Cybersecurity
via Google News
The Latest on: Cybersecurity
Exabeam enhances security management approach and boosts cybersecurity degree program
on May 20, 2019 at 7:07 pm
Exabeam, the Smarter SIEM company, announced a partnership with Deakin University in Australia to strengthen its security management approach and bolster its already distinguished cybersecurity degree ... […]
Political Parties Still Have Cybersecurity Hygiene Problems
on May 20, 2019 at 4:00 pm
In the three years since Russian operatives breached the servers of the Democratic National Committee and threw presidential politics into a state of perpetual chaos, countries around the world have ... […]
Cybersecurity experts warn Baltimore to stop 'playing' with ransomware attacks
on May 20, 2019 at 11:21 am
Cybersecurity experts say Baltimore is playing with fire as a deadline to pay thousands of dollars in ransom to hackers holding several of the city's servers hostage has come and gone. It has been two ... […]
Protecting Your Agency and Educating Your Clients On Cybersecurity
on May 20, 2019 at 11:02 am
It’s no secret that having the right technology is critical to being a successful independent agent. But as independent agents embrace technology, they must also be aware of the risks for cyberattacks ... […]
The current cybersecurity landscape of guerrilla warfare
on May 20, 2019 at 10:37 am
A cybersecurity expert discuses breaches, data protection laws, and why he considers multi-factor authentication the beginning of security. Companies are still grappling with IT security as criminals ... […]
Obama cybersecurity official: It's 'a problem' that former colleague now lobbies for Huawei
on May 20, 2019 at 9:36 am
Load Error Huawei this year hired lobbyist Samir Jain of Jones Day, a former senior director for cybersecurity on the National Security Council. "That's a problem," Snyder, who is a senior advisor at ... […]
Why tech companies should pay close attention to the Equiteq cybersecurity index
on May 20, 2019 at 8:54 am
Equiteq CEO David Jorgenson joins Yahoo Finance's Adam Shapiro, Julie Hyman, and Brian Sozzi to explain why tech companies should be paying close attention to the cybersecurity index. ... […]
The Cybersecurity 202: These political candidates are running on their cybersecurity expertise
on May 20, 2019 at 4:47 am
In the wake of Russia's election interference campaign in 2016, there's a new wave of political candidates who are betting their cybersecurity expertise can help deliver them into office. Digital ... […]
Cybersecurity firm Siemplify raises $30 million, brings total to $58 million
on May 20, 2019 at 4:16 am
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - U.S.-Israeli cybersecurity provider Siemplify said on Monday it raised $30 million in private funding, bringing its total raised to date to $58 million. The funding round was led ... […]
Will the U.S. government draft cybersecurity professionals?
on May 20, 2019 at 3:08 am
Will there be a giant sucking sound of cybersecurity talent evading the draft by moving to Canada? The National Commission on Military, National and Public Service, created by Congress, is currently ... […]
via Bing News