New password method encrypts like no other

A new password encryption method can encrypt your files so that no automated system can hack it.

By James Mulroy, PC World |  Security, encryption, passwords

Have you had an account hacked, or had your personal information stolen? Do you have data that needs to be protected? Fear no more. Researchers from the Max-Planck-Institut fur Physik komplexer Systeme and from Axioma Research have devised a new method to create passwords that are harder to hack, but easier to remember.

Now how did they do that? The researchers combined what's called "nonlinear dynamics" and chaos to create encrypted p-CAPTCHAs (the 'p' stands for password). Sounds complex on the surface, doesn't it? What's even more fascinating is that all you would have to remember is part of the password, and a Java applet will remember the rest for you.

So let's say that you have an important application for a defense contractor that you need to protect and encrypt. Using the Java applet, you would first break your password down into two parts--the easy part and the complex part. You would jot down the easy part of the password and then the java applet would create a CAPTCHA of the hard part. Then p-CAPTCHA would then be encrypted, using the easy part. When you want to get to your application, you would simply enter the easy part of the password; the p-CAPTCHA would appear, and from there you would interpret it and enter what the image says, thus completely decrypting your file.

According to the paper "The weak password problem: chaos, criticality, and encrypted p-CAPTCHAs" the second component of the password is "transformed into a CAPTCHA image and then protected using evolution of a two-dimensional dynamical system close to a phase transition, in such a way that standard brute-force attacks become ineffective." Not only are brute-force approaches ineffective now, but the researchers say that combined with an AES algorithm, "a brute-force attack is infeasible both presently and, probably, in the future."

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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