Researchers encrypt messages with cosmic microwave background radiation

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Researchers propose to use cosmic microwave background radiation as a random bit generator to generate encryption keys. The background radiation from the big bang effectively produces an infinite amount of random, one-time values.

The idea is described on in a paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. The paper was picked up by the Anglophone New Scientist. The method is based on the randomness of physical events. For example, physical randomness can be obtained by measuring keystrokes, as there will always be a difference. That idea was extended to the cosmic microwave background by researchers at Baylor University in Texas.

There are several ways to extract arbitrary numbers from the background radiation, including dividing a patch of sky into pixels and measuring the strength of the cosmic microwave background in that portion. It will never be the same. As time passes, each ‘pixel’ generates a string of different strengths, which strengths should be seen as numbers. Then strings of all those pixels together create a really long, random string of numbers.

The operator of a site that generates random numbers based on the weather,, tells New Scientist he doesn’t suspect the cosmic microwave background will provide better encryption than the weather. He does expect that using the background radiation from the Big Bang will create a certain attraction. He also suspects that the necessary equipment, such as a radio telescope, can be a bit pricey.

Cosmic Background Radiation

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