Simple Arithmetic for Faster, More Secure Websites

CryptoCard security token, displaying a One Ti...
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Faster, more secure logins for multimedia sites might be possible thanks to a new approach to website and database security.

Boolean logins would allow thousands if not millions of users to more quickly access the content to which they are entitled, such as music, video and images. The same approach might also reduce the risk of hackers accessing the materials illicitly.

Classic user identification requires the remote user sending a username and a password to the system to which they want to be authenticated. The system looks up the username in its locally stored database and if the password submitted matches the stored password, then access is granted. This method for identification works under the assumption that there exist no malicious users and that their local terminals cannot be infected by viruses.

Increasingly, however, these assumptions are too naïve. Not all users can be assumed to have good intentions. Technology continuously facilitates the capture of transactions in wireless channels. Usernames and passwords can therefore be easily obtained by malicious third parties (other users or viruses) and be used for illegal accesses to systems.

Now, Nikolaos Bardis of the University of Military Education, in Vari, Greece and colleagues there and at the Polytechnic Institute of Kiev, in Ukraine, have developed an innovative approach to logins, which implements the advanced concept of zero knowledge identification. The system is based on a set of relatively simple mathematical functions, known as one-way Boolean operators, to verify a login rather than the standard encryption-decryption calculations used today. The team explains that preliminary testing shows that their approach to a login algorithm could be hundreds or thousands of times faster than conventional logins. Importantly, the system will reduce the overall computing requirements on the provider side of the system as well as making logins much more secure.

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