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Encrypting Information Using Crystals

via MOTHERBOARD

Random number generation is vital in mathematical modeling and cryptography, where it’s used to encrypt information, log on to websites, and secure web traffic. Even so, truly random numbers are hard to come by. Scientists and codemakers rely on natural phenomena like radioactive decay and atmospheric noise to drive randomness…. Now, chemists have, for the first time, harnessed another natural source of randomness: chemistry. These scientists built a robotic system that uses the process of crystallization to create random strings of numbers and encrypt information.

“We took the word ‘crystal!’ and we encoded it using our random number generator. And we also used a well-known algorithm,” said Lee Cronin, the senior author of the study and a chemistry professor at the University of Glasgow. “We found our messages encoded with the genuinely random numbers took longer to crack than the algorithm, because our system could guess the algorithm and then just brute force it.”

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