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Communications of the ACM

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Group Devises New Method For Securing Location-Sensitive Data


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University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) computer scientists have shown that cryptography based solely on physical location is possible by using quantum mechanics. The method enables users to encrypt data at a secure location without pre-sharing any cryptographic keys.

The concept behind location-based cryptography is that only a recipient at a precise geographic location can receive an encrypted message because the location itself acts as the credential required for generating an encryption key. "Securely proving a location where such a proof cannot be spoofed, and securely communicating only to a device in a particular location and nowhere else is extremely important," says UCLA professor Rafail Ostrovsky.

The researchers have shown that if quantum bits are sent instead of classical bits, a secure protocol can be obtained such that the location of a device cannot be spoofed, which leads to a key-exchange protocol based solely on location. The method does not involve quantum computation other than creating and measuring quantum bits, which can be done with existing technology.

From UCLA Newsroom
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