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
Innovative Infrared heat reduces energy consumption in coating packaging for food
12.12.2018 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
Mobile learning, artificial intelligence and digital training formats in science and research
04.12.2018 | time4you GmbH
Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.
It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:
The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.
One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...
Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.
Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...
Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can...
A team of experimentalists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and theoreticians at University of Alabama Birmingham discovered a remarkably long-lived new state of matter in an iron pnictide superconductor, which reveals a laser-induced formation of collective behaviors that compete with superconductivity.
"Superconductivity is a strange state of matter, in which the pairing of electrons makes them move faster," said Jigang Wang, Ames Laboratory physicist and...
14.01.2019 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
15.01.2019 | Life Sciences
15.01.2019 | Information Technology
15.01.2019 | Materials Sciences