SecureRF announces new breakthrough in RFID cryptography

Published 12 September 2006

Algebraic Eraser algorithms rely on a large quantity of small numbers to stop digital pick-pocketing; technique increases processing speed without compromising security

One major criticism of RFID technology is that it is not secure enough against digital pick-pocketers. For an industry said to be worth $1.94 billion today and $24.50 billion in 2015, this is more than a passing concern. In this day and age, perceived security flaws can make or break an industry. A company protects the physical integrity of its goods by shipping them in cargo containers employing RFID-enabled seals, but it will not feel very good if an unscupulous competitor is able to steal information about the quantity of goods shipped. As importantly, as the United States and other countries are moving toward adoption of a biometric, RFID-enable e-passports, the ability of hackers to lift personal information from passports and other documents has become a major privacy and security concern. Westport, Connecticut-based SecureRF steps up to plate with Algebraic Eraser (AE), a security algorithm it calls a “breakthrough in cryptography…thousands of times more efficient than other commercial applications.”

How it works

Algebraic Eraser (AE) relies on a branch of mathematics called infinite number theory. As with other cryptographic algorithms, it relies on the fact that it is much easier to create a complex number key than to untangle one. A simple case involves two extremely large prime numbers added together. A computer can easily manage that task, but it is nearly impossible to work backwards and find the two primes knowing only the product. Such traditional cryptographic functions require computational levels that grow exponentially as the keysize increases. AE, on the other hand, is the world’s first algorithm to have computational requirements that increase in direct proportion (linearly) to the keysize. By quickly calculating a large quantity of small numbers, the AE algorithm creates a problem that would require a tremendous number of “guesses” to solve.

At the same time, the “eraser” function works to rid the system of part of the cryptographic information, effectively erasing the data that would be required for the system to be reversed (and hence broken). Traditional cryptographic algorithms do not have an erasing feature and require the multiplication and division of very large numbers, thus contributing to the need for large storage and processing resources.

-read more in this company news release