Scientists described a road towards an unbreakable code for ultimate internet security

There is no unbreakable code. As much as we are improving internet security, hackers are improving their methods. It is an ongoing battle, which has no end, because, again, there is no unbreakable code. But maybe we could make one?

Scientists from Cornell Tech found the problem that is standing on the way of the ultimate internet security goal.

The secret to ultimate internet security may hide in the randomness theory. Image credit: Ministryof via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Computers are not that old, but cryptography has been around for thousands of years. Ancient leaders were trying to encrypt their messages, for example. However, now scientists found that cryptography has a natural ‘mother’ problem – its solution is always embedded in the code.

For thousands of years cryptography was cyclical – the same code could be used again and again until someone broke it. But in the 1970s it became more like a one-way function – information is encrypted using a single-use code. Basically, without a key your chances of decrypting a message are equal to restoring a lit match to its unlit state.

However, nothing is really random. In the 1960s mathematicians identified what’s known as Kolmogorov Complexity – quantifying the amount of randomness or pattern of a string of numbers. It describes the shortest computer program that can describe a line of numbers. For really simple patterns the program can be pretty short. But long and complicated strings (for example, 37539017332840393452954329), the program is likely to be longer than the string itself. This means that in computer science you could create a very hard time-bounded Kolmogorov Complexity, which would result in one-way functions. In other words, this theoretical finding could redefine internet security.

Rafael Pass, co-author of the paper, explained: “If you can come up with an efficient algorithm to solve the time-bounded Kolmogorov complexity problem for a large fraction of things, then you can break all crypto, all encryption schemes, all digital signatures. However, if no efficient algorithm exists to solve this problem, you can get a one-way function, and therefore you can get secure encryption and digital signatures and so forth.”

Therefore, scientists are nearing realization that there is either no ultimately secure way of encrypting data or that there is a method in the future. Complicated stuff. However, it is worth looking for, because thousands and thousands of people become victims of some kind of information loss every year.


Source: Cornell University

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