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[FoRK] Functional encryption, or "Computer scientists develop 'mathematical jigsaw puzzles' to encrypt software"

----- Forwarded message from Noon Silk <[email protected]> -----

Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 21:18:45 +1000
From: Noon Silk <[email protected]>
To: Friends of Rohit Khare <[email protected]>
Subject: [FoRK] Functional encryption, or "Computer scientists develop 'mathematical jigsaw puzzles' to encrypt software"
Reply-To: Friends of Rohit Khare <[email protected]>


Looks interesting.

UCLA computer science professor Amit Sahai and a team of researchers have
designed a system to encrypt software so that it only allows someone to use
a program as intended while preventing any deciphering of the code behind
it. This is known in computer science as "software obfuscation," and it is
the first time it has been accomplished.


"You can inspect everything, you can turn it upside-down, you can look at
it from different angles and you still won't have any idea what it's
doing," he added. "The only thing you can do with it is put it together the
way that it was meant to interlock. If you tried to do anything else â?? like
if you tried to bash this piece and put it in some other way â?? you'd just
end up with garbage."

*Functional encryption*

The new technique for software obfuscation paved the way for another
breakthrough called functional encryption. With functional encryption,
instead of sending an encrypted message, an encrypted function is sent in
its place. This offers a much more secure way to protect information, Sahai
said. Previous work on functional encryption was limited to supporting very
few functions; the new work can handle any computable function.

For example, a single message could be sent to a group of people in such a
way that each receiver would obtain different information, depending on
characteristics of that particular receiver. In another example, a hospital
could share the outcomes of treatment with researchers without revealing
details such as identifying patient information.

"Through functional encryption, you only get the specific answer, you don't
learn anything else," Sahai said.

Noon Silk

Fancy a quantum lunch? https://sites.google.com/site/quantumlunch/

"Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy â?? the joy
of being this signature."
FoRK mailing list

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