UCLA Researcher’s Advancement in Encryption by Software Obscurity
A team of computer scientists led by Professor Amit Sahay at UCLA has developed mathematical jigsaw puzzles to help encrypt software, protect IP and prevent counter-engineering of commercial programs.
If you’re in the business of creating original software and hoping to protect its integrity against reverse-engineering hacks, or if you’re worried about Microsoft cracking the code of hackers behind a critical software patch published every month on Patch Tuesday, encrypt what software you’re looking for. Can
UCLA computer science professor Amit Sahai, a cryptography expert and researcher at UCLA’s Henry Samuelli School of Engineering and Applied Science, claims for the first time to successfully complete “software opacity”. What does that mean? OK, this is an encryption technique that only allows someone to use a program for its intended purpose, while preventing any decoding of the code behind it.
The essence of this software obscurity strategy is to set up a new “multilinear jigsaw puzzle” to encrypt the software. Through this jigsaw puzzle, unauthorized attempts to learn how a piece of secure software works will only cause a number of unreasonable noises.
To crack this encryption code, you need to solve the supposed mathematical jigsaw puzzle (courtesy: UCLA Engineering).
“The real challenge and the great mystery of the field was: you can actually take a piece of software and encrypt it but it can still be run, functional and fully functional,” Sahai said, according to a release in UCLA’s Newsroom.
According to Professor Amit Sahai, he and his team of researchers helped develop the new encryption system in an interesting, mathematical way. The new “software opacity” system makes it impossible to reverse engineer software without solving mathematical problems that would take hundreds of years for today’s computers to solve, making it a proverbial game-changer for cryptography.
To quote Sahai further, “You write your software in a nice, logical, human-understandable way and then feed that software into our system. That’s not what it’s doing. “
Software obscurity techniques are also contributing to effective encryption, research suggests. Instead of sending an encrypted message, only an encrypted function is sent for authentication, which provides a “much more secure way to protect data”, according to Professor Amit Sahai.