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Does quantum cryptology offer hack-proof security?

JD Sartain | Sept. 10, 2015
New quantum cryptology research could result in systems that are impossible to hack. But good luck trying to explain it to your boss.

Entropy engine

Whitewood Encryption Systems and Los Alamos National Laboratory are also collaborating on another area of quantum cryptology research and development: the Entropy Engine, which is a random number generator (RNG) that harvests entropy from a quantum field. LANL claims the RNG is so efficient, it can fit on a USB key drive at an exceptionally low cost. 

"Security is a multi-faceted discipline representing multiple attack vectors and a constantly shifting set of targets for an agile and equipped attacker," says Richard Moulds, vice president of Product Strategy and Development at Whitewood Encryption Systems. "We believe that attacks against random number sources and key management systems are on the rise and represent a highly attractive target for would-be hackers." 

According to Moulds, the Entropy Engine exploits quantum mechanics in an effort to provide pure entropy in the form of random data at high speeds (200 Mbps), and addresses the fundamental issue of all cryptosystems: predictability. Future plans include integrating this source of random data into a host of other applications. For example, Whitewood plans to expand its focus on a wider range of commercial and open-source or mainstream cryptographic applications. 

"Our goal is to enable as broad a suite of applications as possible and take advantage of this high-quality, high-performance source of random data," says Moulds. "At the Black Hat show, Whitewood released an open-source plugin for OpenSSL to improve the monitoring and management of entropy consumption."


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