This tiny chip could revolutionize smartphone and IOT security

The tiny chip generates truly random numbers -- the basis for cryptography

IDG

IDG

Engineers at South Korea's SK Telecom have developed a tiny chip that could help secure communications on a myriad of portable electronics and IOT devices.

The chip is just 5 millimeters square -- smaller than a fingernail -- and is capable of generating mathematically provable random numbers. Such numbers are the basis for highly-secure encryption systems and producing them in such a small package hasn't been possible until now.

The chip, on show at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, could be in sample production as early as March this year and will cost a few dollars once in commercial production, said Sean Kwak, director at SK Telecom's quantum technology lab.

The device works by exploiting something called quantum shot noise, he said. Inside the chip two LEDs produce photons that bounce off the inner walls of the chip and are detected by a CMOS image sensor that's also built inside the chip. The shot noise is a result of that detection and is random in nature.

Random numbers are incredibly important in cryptography because they are used to generate encryption keys. If the numbers are not absolutely random then sophisticated analysis could be used to determine the original number and break the encryption.

The ability to generate truly random numbers inside such a small package could significantly improve security of smartphones, intelligent cars and IOT devices. In the latter, the low cost nature of the products often means developers use quasi-random number generators or even a fixed key that never changes over the life of the device.

SK Telecom has been active in quantum encryption and security systems since 2011 when it formed a lab at its R&D center in Seongnam, near Seoul.

On Monday, the company kicked off a push to develop interoperability standards for quantum encryption systems.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?