Scientists say they have created a new, “nearly unbreakable” system of encryption. But it’s not inspired by increased computer power or more complex cyrptography. It’s based on how your heart coordinates with your lungs.
According to wired.co.uk:
The system has been described in a paperpublished in Physical Review X, penned by Tomislav Stankovski, Peter McClintock and Aneta Stefanovska of Lancaster University, and a patent has already been filed. The kicker is, not one of the physics professors had experience in encryption. Their joint backgrounds are in engineering, nonlinear dynamics and biomedical/physics engineering, but when they read up on the latest discoveries around the cardiorespiratory coupling function — the way in which the heart and lungs work together continuously — the potential applications became clear.
“Knowing about some of the open problems in encryption, we suddenly realised that what we tried to understand in biology can also be applied here,” Stefanovska told Wired.co.uk. “Coupling” essentially involves a time-varying delay, that when translated to encryption systems means an infinite number of secret encryption keys shared by the sender and recipient is possible. It means it is “highly resistant to conventional methods of attack” according to Stankovski.
Stefanovska explains: “The information signals are encrypted in the coupling functions; i.e. they modulate the nonlinear coupling functions between two dynamical systems (analogous to the heart and lungs). Two signals, one from each system, are transmitted through the public channel. At the receiver, knowing what those coupling functions are, the process can be reversed.”
The system is also highly resistant to interference, making it a good fit for wireless communications, and might have the potential to level the playing field in an age where government spying is ubiquitous and easy. McClintlock is quoted as saying that the system is “equally unwelcome to internet criminals and official eavesdroppers.”