Science: The Arms’ Race Between Digital Thieves and Security Experts

The Story:

At least since the internet began, the digital world has seen a constant flow of thieves using web connections to make off with other people’s money, information, even identity. For just as long, there has been a profitable industry devoted to preventing them from getting away with that. Below, we look at some ongoing steps in that long-standing race.

Predicting the Keys: 

Current techniques used to protect data via the hardware in which it is stored use the microscopic differences between computing components to create secure keys. But well-heeled bad actors have access to artificial intelligence, and AI tools can be used to predict these keys and gain access to the data.

Strange New Worlds:

Scientists at Penn State have developed a way to make these encrypted keys more difficult to attack. They have developed what they call a “Physically Unclonable Device” (PUC) employing the physical and electronic properties of graphene. Graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms just one atom thick.

The scientists created nearly 2,000 identical graphene transistors, which switch current on and off in a circuit. Despite their designed similarity, the inherent randomness in the production of graphene means that there is variation in the transistors’ conductivity. This variation is critical to foiling the expected AI techniques and criminal attacks.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.