Randomness, or entropy, is the foundation of cryptography. It is crucial for generating robust cryptographic keys — the higher the randomness of the key, the more secure the cryptographic system.
True random number generation is becoming more essential as lower-entropy cryptographic keys are creating security risks in light of modern accelerants in the codebreaking game. Advances in quantum computing pose one of the most significant risks, threatening traditional encryption, and the critical infrastructure it protects.
It is possible, however, to fight quantum with quantum, and random number generation plays a key role — pun intended.
True Random Number Generation — The Key to Secrecy in a Quantum World
The power of quantum may pose a threat to data security, but it can also offer solutions for stronger encryption.
Quantum encryption, or quantum cryptography, is based on physics, harnessing the properties of quantum mechanics and leveraging the unpredictable nature of matter at the quantum level for securing communications.
The best example of how quantum cryptography is being used today is quantum key distribution (QKD), theorized by cryptographers for nearly 50 years.
Quantum key distribution allows for the transmission of a secret, random sequence — the key — using a series of photons (light particles) transmitted over a fiber optic cable. Measurements taken at each end of the transmission can be compared in order for senders and receivers to detect whether the key has been compromised. Unlike standard cryptography, it is impossible to intercept or even observe a quantum encrypted key without disrupting the photons, thereby changing the aforementioned measurements on either end. This is in part due to a principle called the observer effect, which states that the mere act of observation, even passive, instantaneously changes quantum phenomena, alerting users to eavesdropping.
The algorithm most commonly associated with quantum key distribution is the one-time pad. The one-time pad is the gold standard in cryptography, and the only known unbreakable cipher — even against the infinite power of a quantum computer.
In order for for the one-time pad to be completely uncrackable, it must be implemented correctly, and that includes the use of a secret, genuinely random key.
There are a few possible approaches for achieving this randomness. Hardware-based random number generators provide a greater amount of entropy than most, but they are costly and cumbersome, are susceptible to influence and tampering, as well as producing outputs that are only random on the surface.
Quantum random number generators (QRNGs) exploit the principles of quantum physics, and produce true randomness as a result of a measurement on a quantum system. However, these are strongly dependent on the properties or behavior of the quantum entity, and are susceptible to things like environmental noise that could introduce biases.
Software-based random number generators based on a mathematical algorithm are commonly used, also known as pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs) for their propensity to produce only pseudo-random keys. A computer with enough brute force strength — a quantum computer, for example — would easily be able to detect underlying patterns.
The random number generator problem is a significant one, but progress is being made. Software-based RNGs are becoming stronger, employing new technologies to produce higher-entropy, quantum-resistant private keys, generated with better quality numerical “seeds,” without the repeats that make it easier for hackers to crack.
Ultimately, random number generation must be pushed to the next level. Algorithms are only as strong as the unpredictability of their keys, and only true random number generation can provide the impenetrable encryption organizations need to protect their data in a quantum world.
Higher Entropy for the Quantum Age — The Future of Data Security
The Theon Technology encryption solution delivers intrinsically better entropy.
TheonRNG™ is Theon’s Random Number Generator. TheonRNG™ produces truly random, less vulnerable keys, free of any embedded patterns. By tapping into the mantissas of irrational numbers, TheonRNG™ is able to achieve a new margin of entropy quality in software-based random number generation.
Theon’s patented TheonEncrypt™ One Time Pad-inspired encryption works with TheonRNG™ as part of TheonSDK™, our Software Development Toolkit. TheonEncrypt™ makes one-time pad encryption scalable and commercially-available, for the first time.
Together, these two innovations offer a formidable solution to the crisis in randomness: software-based generation of high-entropy, quantum-resistant private keys, performing at scale with speed and economy.
Theon Technology thereby sets a new standard for software-based cryptography, moving the world closer toward the goals of quantum-proof encryption and perfect secrecy for businesses.
Higher entropy random number generation is available now — Contact a Theon expert today to take your first step on the road to perfect secrecy with quantum-resistant encryption. We also have free eBooks available for download, including our latest, The Secure Enterprise Communication Handbook, which offers an overview of everything decision makers need to know to prepare a secure communication strategy.