A new low-cost nanomaterial developed by New York University Tandon School of Engineering researchers can be tuned to act as a secure authentication key to encrypt computer hardware and data. The layered molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanomaterial cannot be physically cloned (duplicated) — replacing programming, which can be hacked.
In a paper published in the journal ACS Nano, the researchers explain that the new nanomaterial has the highest possible level of structural randomness, making it physically unclonable. It achieves this with randomly occurring regions that alternately emit or do not emit light. When exposed to light, this pattern can be used to create a one-of-a-kind binary cryptographic authentication key that could secure hardware components at minimal cost.
The research team envisions a future in which similar nanomaterials can be inexpensively produced at scale and applied to a chip or other hardware component. “No metal contacts are required, and production could take place independently of the chip fabrication process,” Shahrjerdi said. “It’s maximum security with minimal investment.”
Cybersecurity is a major evolving problem both from the perspective of consumers and corporations but also nations because the barrier to entry by competing regimes is falling all the time.
One of the issues with developing quantum encryption is the resistance it will face from governments who will also be locked out of snooping on both foreign countries and their domestic populations. That represents a catch-22 as this technology is evolved.
I suspect 2018 is going to be a big year for quantum computing not least because of the negative implications its evolution has for cryptocurrency security. Both Google and IBM have been vocal about the progress they are making in this evolving sector, even if they are still some way from providing a commercial service.Back to top