In the wake of the revelations that intelligence agencies have been engaged in mass surveillance activities, both industry and society at large are looking for practicable encryption solutions that protect businesses and individuals. Previous technologies have failed in practice because they were too expensive or not user friendly enough. Fraunhofer has launched an open initiative called “Volksverschlüsselung” with the aim of bringing end-to-end encryption to the masses. Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting a prototype of their easy-to-use software and the infrastructure concept behind it at CeBIT 2015 (Hall 9, Booth E40).
Encryption is the most effective antidote to unwarranted, mass surveillance of people, companies and authorities. Although there are any number of computer programs designed to, say, make e-mail communication more secure, most people find them to be too much of a hassle.
This is why the German government made establishing universal and easy-to-use encryption part of its Digital Agenda. A research team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT in Darmstadt developed a public encryption concept that factors in user friendliness from the outset. The software automatically installs the cryptographic keys in the right places on your computer. The researchers are also working on an infrastructure that will be available to everyone and is compatible with existing encryption services.
“With this initiative and what it’s developing, Fraunhofer is supporting the German government’s efforts to better protect people and companies,” says Prof. Michael Waidner, Head of Fraunhofer SIT. This is why “Volksverschlüsselung“ is to be made available as open-source software.
Key allocation for beginners
The software is the centerpiece of the solution. It relieves the user of the previously difficult task of allocating keys by recognizing which applications – different e-mail programs, for example – on your computer, smartphone or tablet can use cryptography and automatically allocates the right key to each one. The software also generates cryptographic keys that can be used to encrypt e-mails or files.
If you want to send someone an encrypted e-mail, you need the public key. In the “Volksverschlüsselung“ model, you can obtain this from the central infrastructure. “It works like a phone book,” says project manager Michael Herfert. “Anyone can look up and download public keys. The central infrastructure also ensures that the keys actually belong to the person requesting them and helps prevent identity fraud.”
At CeBIT 2015, Fraunhofer researchers will demonstrate how people can register using the eID function of the German identity card. Other ways of registering are to be made possible in the future. To make it possible for a vast number of people to use the “Volksverschlüsselung“ infrastructure, it would ideally have to be set up to handle several million keys.
This calls for an infrastructure that is as efficient as it is secure. The current plan is to install the infrastructure on a high-security server at the Fraunhofer Institute Center in Birlinghoven near Bonn, and other trusted partners will also be able to participate soon.
Companies also stand to benefit from the results of the “Volksverschlüsselung“ project – especially from the software. Solutions developed as part of the project could help small and medium-sized enterprises in particular by making it easier for them to implement encryption and thus better protect trade secrets.
The researchers will be presenting a prototype of the software at CeBIT 2015 (Hall 9, Booth E40) in Hannover from March 16 to 20. This version of the software is designed for Windows desktop computers, but further versions for other operating systems and mobile devices are in the pipeline. The research team is also working on various add-ons, including one that supports ad hoc encryption.
Britta Widmann | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Come Together: Teamwork Achieves Optimum Composite Design
14.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Innovative materials and fabrication technology at the summit of nanotechnology in Tokyo
08.02.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy