September 30, 2022

Securing Data Transfers With Relativity: Information Cannot Travel Faster Than the Speed of Light

A group from UNIGE has implemented a brand-new method to protect data transfers based upon the physical concept of relativity.
The volume of information moved is constantly increasing, however the absolute security of these exchanges can not be ensured, as revealed by cases of hacking frequently reported in the news. To counter hacking, a group from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, has actually established a brand-new system based upon the principle of “zero-knowledge evidence,” the security of which is based upon the physical principle of relativity: details can not travel faster than the speed of light. Thus, among the fundamental concepts of contemporary physics permits for safe and secure information transfer. This system enables users to recognize themselves in total confidentiality without divulging any personal details, appealing applications in the field of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. These results can be read in the journal Nature.

When a person– the so called prover– desires to verify their identity, for example when they want to withdraw cash from an ATM, they must supply their individual data to the verifier, in our example the bank, which processes this info (e.g. the recognition number and the pin code). To counter this issue, the prover should preferably be able to confirm their identity, without exposing any info at all about their individual information. If I reveal them the actions of the evidence, they will be persuaded, however then have access to all the info and might easily replicate the proof,” discusses Nicolas Brunner, a teacher in the Department of Applied Physics at the UNIGE Faculty of Science. “On the contrary, with a zero-knowledge evidence, I will be able to encourage them that I know the proof, without giving away any info about it, therefore avoiding any possible data healing.”
Whenever an information transfer has actually to be made, this relativistic zero-knowledge evidence system would guarantee absolute security of information processing and might not be hacked.

When a person– the so called prover– wishes to validate their identity, for instance when they wish to withdraw cash from an ATM, they should offer their individual data to the verifier, in our example the bank, which processes this info (e.g. the recognition number and the pin code). As long as only the verifier and the prover understand this data, privacy is ensured. If others acquire this details, for example by hacking into the banks server, security is compromised.
Zero-knowledge proof as a service
To counter this issue, the prover needs to preferably be able to verify their identity, without exposing any information at all about their individual information. However is this even possible? Remarkably the response is yes, through the principle of a zero-knowledge evidence. “Imagine I desire to show a mathematical theorem to a colleague. If I reveal them the steps of the proof, they will be convinced, however then have access to all the info and might easily recreate the evidence,” explains Nicolas Brunner, a teacher in the Department of Applied Physics at the UNIGE Faculty of Science. “On the contrary, with a zero-knowledge proof, I will have the ability to encourage them that I know the proof, without distributing any information about it, thus preventing any possible data healing.”
The principle of zero-knowledge evidence, invented in the mid-1980s, has actually been put into practice in current years, significantly for cryptocurrencies. If this assumption is disproved– which can not be ruled out today– security is jeopardized since the information would become available. Today, the Geneva team is demonstrating a radically various system in practice: a relativistic zero-knowledge evidence.
A graph with its 3-coloring. For each edge, we examine that the two connected vertices are of different colors.
Dual confirmation based on a three-colorability problem
Carrying out a relativistic zero-knowledge evidence involves 2 far-off verifier/prover sets and a tough mathematical issue. Each node is offered one out of three possible colors– green, red or blue– and 2 nodes that are linked together must be of different colors. Why do we require 2 pairs of checker/prover?
To be sure, the verifiers will randomly pick a large number of pairs of nodes on the chart linked by a link, then ask their particular prover what color the node is. Thus, if the 2 colors announced are constantly various, the verifiers are persuaded of the identity of the provers, since they really understand a three-coloring of this graph.
” Its like when the authorities interrogates two wrongdoers at the same time in different offices: its a matter of checking that their responses match, without permitting them to interact with each other,” says Hugo Zbinden. In this case, the concerns are almost synchronised, so the provers can not communicate with each other, as this information would have to travel faster than light, which is obviously difficult.
To prevent the verifiers from reproducing the graph, the two provers continuously change the color code in an associated manner: what was green becomes blue, blue becomes red, etc “In this method, the proof is made and confirmed, without revealing any information about it,” says the Geneva-based physicist.
An ultra-fast and trustworthy system
In the Geneva scientists experiment, the two prover/verifier sets are 60 meters apart, to guarantee that they can not interact. “But this system can currently be utilized, for example, between two branches of a bank and does not require complex or costly innovation,” he says. Whenever a data transfer has actually to be made, this relativistic zero-knowledge proof system would guarantee outright security of data processing and could not be hacked.
Referral: “Experimental relativistic zero-knowledge evidence” 3 November 2021, Nature.DOI: 10.1038/ s41586-021-03998-y.

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