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Offline mayya

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Human cryptography the key to online voting
« on: August 18, 2014, 23:42:30 PM »
Human cryptography the key to online voting


THE AUSTRALIAN

AUGUST 19, 2014 12:00AM
Jennifer Foreshew

Technology Reporter
Sydney

 

Xavier Boyen is working on making cryptography more human-powered. Picture: <span class="creditattribution">Erika Fish</span> Source: Supplied

HUMAN-POWERED cryptographic protocols could be used to secure online transactions and electronic voting following a new research project.
Cryptography provides unbreakable data security between computer nodes, but leaves human owners helpless.

“The problem is cryptography, in order to be secure, requires heavy computer-assisted calculations to make it efficient and is very impractical for humans to do,’’ Queensland University of Technology researcher Xavier Boyen said. “We have a lot of new techniques that would be much more amenable to human operations while retaining the proven security that we seek in terms of mathematical cryptography.’’

Earlier this month, a US internet security firm revealed Russian criminals had stolen 1.2 billion ­internet user names and passwords, probably the largest such theft ever.

Associate Professor Boyen has received an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship worth almost $800,000 to build user-owned passwords.
“The goal is to come up with a fairly simple but secure way to get the person involved in the very act of authenticating with a remote server or something like that,’’ he said.

The project aims to build ­public-key ciphers that can be ­operated manually from a mental key in seconds to let users regain their internet privacy, even ­defending against spyware and malware lurking on their very own mobiles and computers. It would also build security protocols with full end-to-end coverage all the way to the human users.

“It could be the case that when you authenticate to a bank, instead of typing in your password the bank will send you a list of numbers and you know that you have to pick the second, the fourth and the fifth of those numbers and add them together,’’ he said.

“Using these kinds of techniques, as one example, it is pos­sible to actually hide from the phone — which may not be ­working in your best interests — what your password is, what your secret is.’’

Associate Professor Boyen said electronic voting provided a strong motivation for the research. “There is a concern that the voting machines might confirm one vote to the voter, but ­secretly record another one,’’ he said.

“This could be prevented by binding the vote to some little ­secret piece of information known only to the voter.”


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/technology/human-cryptography-the-key-to-online-voting/story-e6frgakx-1227028546184?nk=ef3c3d3c8bc9c8e289cf51b84e05c9c1