The new encryption tool from the Internet is designed for this | Panda Anku

An encryption tool co-developed by a University of Cincinnati math professor will soon protect telecommunications, online retail and banking, and other digital systems we use every day.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has selected four new encryption tools designed to thwart the next generation of hackers or thieves. One of them, called CRYSTALS-Kyber, was co-developed by Jintai Ding, a mathematics professor at the UC College of Arts and Sciences.

“It’s not just for today, it’s for tomorrow,” Ding said. “That’s information you don’t want people to know in 30 or 50 years.”

Ding’s algorithm was designed to withstand scrutiny by quantum computers, which use the power of quantum mechanics to speed up calculations. The faster the calculations, the faster a security system can be breached.

“If you have enough time, you can decode any system,” Ding said. “But if it takes 10,000 years, nobody cares.”

The institute, part of the US Department of Commerce, selected CRYSTALS-Kyber alongside three other tools.

Symmetric encryption uses mathematics to protect sensitive electronic information, from the texts we send to the financial documents we share. Public-key systems help senders and receivers create a shared secret key that is used to encrypt and decrypt data to deter uninvited third parties.

“The implications are very profound,” Ding said. “Without a modern encryption system, we have no internet. We do not have secure communications. No online banking. No software updates. Our entire digital society relies on modern cryptography.”

One of the benefits NIST cited for CRYSTALS-Kyber was its efficiency.

“It can’t be too slow,” said Ding. “You don’t want delay time. They want to read your message immediately.”

Likewise, you don’t want encryption to take up valuable computer memory.

The federal agency also selected three algorithms to verify the identity of individuals in digital transactions.

“Kyber’s sister is called Dilithium, which is used for authentication. They are sometimes used together and sometimes separately,” Ding said.

The names may sound familiar to fans of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars”. Kyber crystals power lightsabers, while dilithium crystals power the USS Enterprise’s warp drive. Ding credited his employees with the colorful names.

“Encryption isn’t as easy to understand as ‘Star Wars,'” he joked.

The need for improved cybersecurity cannot be overstated, said Richard Harknett, chair of UC’s Center for Cyber ​​Strategy and Policy.

“Quantum technology has the potential to undermine the fundamentals of how we securely share digital data,” Harknett said. “Professor Jintai Ding has been at the forefront of this field for decades and has consistently worked to solve this looming threat. He and his team have provided NIST with a solution that benefits global security.

“We’re lucky, Dr. Having thing whose vision took cryptography to a new level. UC is talking about the next life here. dr thing proved it.”

The standards adopted by the United States often become the de facto standards around the world, Ding said. So the new cybersecurity could have far-reaching implications.

Ding took a detour to study cryptography. His expertise as a full professor of mathematics at UC was in quantum algebra. But in 2001 he read about a quantum computer being developed by MIT physicist Isaac Chuang.

“I was amazed. I immediately realized that we need to replace all existing key code systems that protect our data,” he said. “I quit my job and switched to cryptography. UC has been very supportive.”

The new security is expected to take years to implement because it’s not as simple as installing a software patch. But its protection could last a generation.

Even as encryption tools become more powerful, others are working on new attacks to crack them.

“It’s a game we’re going to keep playing,” Ding said. “We must never be satisfied.”

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