According to a blog post published by the firm, nChain has been awarded a new patent by the European Patent Office (EPO). The latest patent – the sixth to be awarded by the EPO – covers a system that uses a trusted device to secure content on another device or computer server. The patent extends the invention covered by nChain’s Deterministic Key Generation patent, which was previously approved by the EPO.
The patent, entitled “Personal device security using elliptic curve cryptography for secret sharing, and numbered European Patent 3257006, details how two personal devices can communicate with each other securely using a “common secret” but without requiring that any sensitive private-key information be exchanged. Instead, the technique uses digital signatures to create the common secret each time data needs to be exchanged.
According to nChain’s announcement, “For two such devices, say a smartphone and laptop, the common secret (sometimes referred to as determined common secret or ‘DCS’) is formed out of the laptop’s newly generated private/public keypair and the smartphone’s newly generated private/public keypair. This common secret allows an encryption key to be established between the devices.”
It further states, “The next time the devices communicate a digital signature is required to send information, making it impossible for third parties to imitate either device. The trusted information then allows a new common secret (and therefore encryption key) to be recalculated for each session, ensuring ongoing security every time data needs to be exchanged. The information required to recalculate the encryption key is thereby solely kept on the security device (here the smartphone).”
The system provides for increased security of user and business data and doesn’t require a PIN or pass phrase. The security of a device like a smartphone is sufficient and the device will store the necessary information. This, says nChain, will allow for greater adoption of the system, as it is virtually hassle-free and doesn’t require users to memorize additional security controls.
The enhanced common secret system can ultimately be used in a number of different scenarios. It can be used to keep passwords for sensitive online accounts, for access to data on a particular device (including individual files and folders), cryptocurrency wallets, and more.
Explains nChain, “Using DCS for such purposes would pose a more convenient, and more secure method of two-factor authentication for online services such as exchanges or online bank services, as no additional data entry is required from the user, and no central server is involved in generating the encryption key.”
nChain’s invention is not limited to usage on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain, and can be used in any variety of digital environments. However, its mechanism can be integrated into standard BCH wallets, further taking advantage of the strong security of the BCH blockchain. This further shows how BCH’s strength can be a valuable foundation for the advancement of any blockchain-based technology.
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