In the digital age, security of sensitive information is of utmost importance. Many data are encrypted before they enter the data highway. Mostly, these methods use a password for decryption, and in most cases, exactly this password is the entrance gate for hackers. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) use a new and highly secure approach by combining computer science with chemistry and a conventional encryption method with a chemical password.
Their development is now reported in an open access publication in Nature Communications. (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03784-x ).
Today, very good and highly effective encryption programs exist, which are difficult to overcome, provided that the computer capacity is limited. The password, however, always remains the weak point. If it is badly chosen and does not meet the necessary security requirements, it is the Achilles heel of entire encryption. Exactly here is the starting point of work of the scientists of KIT: They conceal the information of the password in a small organic molecule. And while the encrypted digital information can travel publicly, the key to read the information is transported invisibly and without the knowledge of the environment in a form of a small volume of a chemical compound, e.g. as a droplet on paper.
Computer science meets chemistry: Encryption and decryption in detail. (Graphics: Andreas Boukis, KIT)
“Of course, this method is only suited for applications requiring high security levels and, hence, justifying a high expenditure, examples being the transmission of intelligence or communication of embassies,” says Professor Michael Meier of KIT’s Institute of Organic Chemistry. Other applications might be identification or anti counterfeit tags. We can work with smallest amounts and also find them in materials, in which other chemical compounds, such as DNA molecules, cannot be used,” first author Andreas Boukis adds. The scientists succeeded in reliably isolating chemical keys from various carrier materials, such as paper, perfume, instant coffee, green tea, sugar, and even pork blood.
Application of the password in the form of a molecule, sending the message, extracting the molecule, and decryption: The simplified representation above illustrates a highly complex and highly secure method. (Photos: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT; graphics: Leon Kühner, KIT)
The information of the chemical key is hidden in the sequence of building blocks and the attached sidechains. Each of these chemical components is assigned a letter and a number. Depending on which components are synthesized in which sequence and with which sidechains, an individual alphanumerical code results for the password molecule. It is read out with a specially developed computer program and converted into a binary code. For synthesis, the scientists used a conventional so-called multi-component reaction. It allows to synthesize a previously defined molecule in one step with a small expenditure. As basic components, the researchers selected suitable commercially available compounds. With this database of 130 different basic compounds, 500,000 chemical keys can be synthesized, containing a basic information of 18 bits each. By combining various chemical keys that can also be transmitted at various times and places, information storage capacity and, hence, security can be further increased. As the compounds are highly robust, they are suited for a variety of carrier materials. Thanks to another property, they are also easy to find: At a certain position, they have a special sidechain that facilitates recovery, so-called perfluoroalkyls. Their properties are similar to those of teflon, i.e. they do not like to interact with aqueous (polar) or fatty (unpolar) media, but only with other perfluorinated compounds. For this rea [Textfeld: Computer science meets chemistry: Encryption and decryption in detail. (Graphics: Andreas Boukis, KIT)] son, these molecules can be separated selectively from a mixture. The isolated compounds are then analyzed using a conventional highly sensitive analysis method, mass spectrometry. The mass of entire molecules, but also of defined fragments is determined. If the library of the 130 possible initial components is known, conclusions can be drawn with respect to the molecule and the password for decryption can be read out.
“The idea to send information via secret channels is not new. But our process is characterized by the fact that we provide a highly robust secret channel that needs minimum amounts of the key molecule only,” Professor Dennis Hofheinz of the Institute of Theoretical Informatics summarizes the advantages of chemical passwords.
The Latest on: Encryption
via Google News
The Latest on: Encryption
- The Government's Encryption Laws Passed, What Does That Mean? on December 17, 2018 at 3:22 am
After being caught up in the broader drama of the last day of Parliament for 2018, the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 passed both houses on Thursd... […]
- Recent research: Network Encryption market report on December 17, 2018 at 3:06 am
Network Encryption Market report introduced demand and supply of Network Encryption including forecasts of investment trends, technology requirements. The Network Encryption Industry report says Marke... […]
- Australia's encryption laws are 'highly unlikely' to dragoon employees in secret on December 16, 2018 at 8:59 pm
Software developers fear that Australia's new encryption laws can force them to secretly add malware and backdoors to their employers' products and services. These fears are largely unfounded, say exp... […]
- Here we go again: PJCIS opens review of Australia's encryption laws on December 16, 2018 at 8:01 pm
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has begun accepting submissions for its review of Australia's newly-minted encryption laws. What's actually in Australia's encryp... […]
- GridGain® Professional Edition 2.7 Introduces TensorFlow Integration, Enhanced Usability, Transparent Data Encryption at Rest on December 16, 2018 at 2:26 pm
GridGain Systems, provider of enterprise-grade in-memory computing solutions based on Apache® Ignite™, announced the immediate availability of GridGain Professional Edition 2.7, a fully supported vers... […]
- What Do You Need to Know About the Encryption Killing Legislation? on December 16, 2018 at 1:03 pm
As a company, if you don’t comply you could be hit with a fine of up to almost $10 million Austrailian dollars. You do have a defense though – if the requests will undermine your encryption systems, m... […]
- Anti-encryption law won't work, developer tells Australia on December 15, 2018 at 1:45 pm
The makers of a popular messaging app have told the Australian government its attempts to crack down on encryption are doomed to fail. Earlier this month Australia passed a law requiring companies to ... […]
- Fallout 76 Text Chat Mod New Update Adds Global Chat, Encryption and More on December 14, 2018 at 3:41 am
Earlier this week, a brand new mod called Proximity Chat has been released for Fallout 76, allowing players who installed the mod to use text chat when close to other players who had the same mod ... […]
- UK Regulator Issues Guidance About Encryption Under GDPR on December 13, 2018 at 2:13 pm
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office recently released helpful encryption guidance. Although released to address the GDPR security requirements, this document may be helpful more broadly because o... […]
via Bing News