Researchers Make Major Breakthrough in Cryptography

A pair of university researchers are presenting a system which could greatly advance the use of cryptography in computing.

Bristol University computer science Professor Nigel Smart and Dr Frederik Vercauteren from Belgium's Katholieke University Leuven are planning to present a paper which outlines a scheme for handling and computing encrypted content.

The scheme outlined in the paper, say the researchers, improves on a 2009 encryption scheme from IBM which allows for processing "add" and "multiply" functions on encrypted data ciphertexts.

The researchers said that the paper could push forward efforts to develop a practical system which computes fully encrypted data.

"Our scheme allows for computations to be performed on encrypted data, so it may eventually allow for the creation of systems in which you can store data remotely in a secure manner and still be able to access it," said Professor Smart.

The researchers said that while their scheme advances IBM's system, additional work will be needed to develop a system for computing encrypted data that could be deployed in the real world.

Should such a system be developed for commercial use, researchers suggest that it could improve the security with which systems such as electronic voting and pharmaceutical systems run.

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