In recent developments, a group of researchers claims to have created a prototype silicon chip that provides an encryption so powerful that it is impossible to break.
The article which announced the silicon chip was published by Nature, a platform that publishes scientific research papers, on 20 December. The paper revealed that the design of the chip includes chaotic wave packets used in traditional silicon-based semiconductors.
What is it all About?
The silicon chip has been developed by scientists belonging to three eminent institutes— School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia and the Center for Unconventional Processes of Sciences, California.
Now, the recent developments in quantum computing, including Google’s announcement of attaining quantum supremacy is not unknown to many. The same developments are feared in the crypto world as quantum computers can pose a threat to the existence of blockchain in the near future. This is exactly what the paper explains.
The Underlying Idea
The chip uses the idea of the OTP (one-time pad) patented in 1919 by Gilbert Vernam. There are two things to be considered— one, that the OTP is impossible to be cracked as it involves one-time-key sharing and second, that OTPs lack practicality because of a lack of a feasible and secure way to exchange keys. The chip aims to bring about a practical OTP implementation.
To sum up, the chip can enable a physical realization of the OTP that is ‘compatible with the existing optical communication infrastructure and offers unconditional security in the key distribution’. The technology makes use of traditional physics, including chaos theory, the second law of thermodynamics and some other laws of classical physics. Moreover, the keys are not shared with the messages.