New "uncrackable" security system may make your VPN obsolete

Unbreakable Lock
(Image credit: KAUST)

Researchers at the University of St Andrews, King Abdullah University of Sciences and Technology (KAUST) and the Center for Unconventional Processes of Sciences (CUP Sciences) have developed a new uncrackable security system which is set to revolutionize communications privacy.

The international team of scientists have created optical chips that allow for information to be sent from one user to another using a one-time unhackable communication that is able to achieve 'perfect secrecy' since confidential data can now be protected more securely than ever before.

The researchers' proposed system uses silicon chips that contain complex structures that are irreversibly changed in order to send information in a one-time key that can't be recreated or intercepted by an attacker.

Future-proof security

While current standard cryptographic techniques allow for information to be sent quickly, they can be broken by future computers and quantum algorithms. However, according to the research team, their new method for encrypting data is unbreakable and uses existing communication networks. It also takes up less space on these networks than traditional encrypted communications.

Associate professor of electrical engineering at KAUST and leader of the study, Dr. Andrea Fratalocchi explained why the team's new security system will be essential in the quantum era, saying:

“With the advent of more powerful and quantum computers, all current encryptions will be broken in very short time, exposing the privacy of our present and, more importantly, past communications. For instance, an attacker can store an encrypted message that is sent today and wait for the right technology to become available to decipher the communication. Implementing massive and affordable resources of global security is a worldwide problem that this research has the potential to solve for everyone, and everywhere. If this scheme could be implemented globally, crypto-hackers will have to look for another job.”

The research team is currently working on developing commercial applications for their patented technology and they plan to have a fully functional demo soon.

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Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.