In the fast-moving cybersecurity landscape, the quest for even more robust encryption methods remains the number-one priority. A recent breakthrough in random number generators (RNGs) is on the cusp of redefining the way individuals and organisations approach data security.
This innovative technology – inspired by the unique properties of quantum physics – holds the promise of enhancing encryption protocols and fortifying digital defences against emerging cyber threats.
Today, RNGs have a plethora of use cases, all of which are designed to produce unpredictable outcomes. These software algorithms or hardware devices spawn a multitude of numbered sequences which, in the past, have been sufficiently safe to provide cryptographic protection for communications systems and such like. RNGs have also helped to ensure trust and integrity in the fast-growing iGaming space. The virtual world of card games and online slots means RNGs have been required to deliver the random simulation of their real-world equivalents. In fact, RNGs are still fundamental to slot machine mechanics today. These decentralised algorithms are programmed to generate results in line with their inherent volatility and pre-programmed return to player (RTP) values.
The latest advancement has seen a novel quantum-inspired RNG rear its head, designed to overcome any limitations of conventional methods. By leveraging the core principles of quantum mechanics – a field of physics which explores the behaviour of the world’s matter and energy at the smallest scales – this quantum RNG paves the way for the next generation of quantum communications.
A collective of scientific researchers at the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Linkoping University in Sweden have sought to redefine the concept of cryptography. In this field, it’s essential that the numbers processed are random. However, it’s equally important that those who need to know the numbers are the only ones who are aware of them.
Guilherme B. Xavier, researcher and part of this group of researchers, said this new quantum-based RNG can “certify that many generated [elements] are private and thus completely secure”. Xavier added that if everything surrounding quantum physics is as the science world believes, this quantum RNG should be nigh-on impossible to be compromised “without the recipient finding out”.
Delving deeper into the new QRNG
The core of this new QRNG is based on light emitting diodes (LEDs) generated from the crystal-like material, perovskite. This mineral features calcium titanium oxide, comprising calcium titanate. It was first discovered within the Ural Mountains in Russia by a man named Gustav Rose in the mid-19th century. The mineral was aptly named in honour of a Russian mineralogist called Lev Perovski.
Essentially, a genuine perovskite is formed of three scientific elements – oxygen, titanium and calcium. The structure of a perovskite is rather striking indeed. It’s a cubic unit cell, with corners of titanium atoms, oxygen atoms on the mid-point edges and calcium atoms at the heart of it.
These perovskites are 100% unique and fully natural shapes, which help to generate fully random outcomes. Many believe this type of QRNG to be one of the best made solutions to pseudorandom RNGs, with the ability to be much less expensive and greener for individuals and organisations to adopt, due largely to the inherent chemical make-up of a perovskite.
Xavier believes this new QRNG technology could be entered into the mainstream as a cybersecurity solution by the end of this decade. Feng Gao, a professor leading the research group on perovskite RNGs, has been passionate about utilising perovskites for the last decade. Gao believes there is huge potential for their inclusion as part of optical equipment, inspired by the perovskite light-emitting diodes (PeLEDs).
Gao says these could be incorporated into consumer electronics to keep the cost down, both in terms of production and usage. Consumer electronics underpinned by PeLEDs would require significantly less energy to operate.
The next hurdle for these researchers to overcome is addressing the mineral of perovskite itself. By removing the lead that’s present within perovskite, it can increase the lifespan of the mineral, improving its longevity which stands at approximately 22 days.