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Crypto Crumpling Could Solve the Encryption Conundrum


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Balancing the competing security needs of mobile device users and law enforcement?

Researchers at Boston and Portland State universities have devised a method to maximize mobile device security that still offers the potential for authorities to gain "exceptional access" to the devices.

Credit: Getty Images

Boston University researchers, in collaboration with colleagues at Portland State University, have developed a method that maximizes mobile device security for users but still gives authorities a way to gain "exceptional access" in special circumstances.

The researchers say the new method, called "cryptographic crumpling," is an encryption technique that is meant to be broken, though at a cost designed to put it out of the reach of cybercriminals.

Cryptographic crumpling requires an unauthorized user, such as a law enforcement agency, to solve two cryptographic puzzles before being able to decrypt a message. The first, or "gatekeeper," puzzle is the more difficult and expensive to solve. The researchers estimate that solving this puzzle with brute force could cost anywhere from $100 million to several billion dollars.

After the gatekeeper puzzle is solved, the unauthorized user must then solve a second hash-based puzzle that costs between $1,000 and $1 million for each decrypted message.

From Government Computer News
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