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Faster, better protection for your data

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26 March 2012

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The new international standard in securing digital data from online banking, eHealth and other web-based transactions was first conceived at Monash University in the 1990s.

Professor Yuliang Zheng, now of the University of North Carolina Charlotte, began developing the technology, Signcryption, which ensures both the confidentiality and authenticity of digital data, when he worked at the University’s Faculty of Information Technology.

Following a move to America, Professor Zheng further developed Signcryption which was recently recognised by the International Standards Organisation, based in Geneva.

Professor Zheng said the technology was both effective and efficient, saving computer processing time and energy by combining two steps into one.

“Signcryption is a technology that hits two birds with one stone, the two birds being authenticity and confidentiality, and the stone being a single step of computation inside a computer chip,” Professor Zheng said.

“To understand the necessity of these processes, compare them to letter writing. After one composes a letter to a friend, one signs the letter, then places it into an envelope.

“The purpose of signing the letter is to add authenticity, so that a recipient knows that at least it's not spam mail. The purpose of placing the letter into an envelope is to protect the letter from being snooped on while en route.” 

Professor Zheng said that by combining two important security steps, Signcryption reduced computer processing time by up to 90 per cent.

“Such a huge reduction translates into significantly reduced power consumption and a reduced delay in communication. It will also enable new technologies.”

Professor Zheng said Signcryption would be most noticeable to the consumer in the longer battery life in hand-held devices like smart phones.

Dr David Lyster, Manager Research Partnerships at Monash worked with Professor Zheng on commercialising the technology. 

“Although the potential of the technology was recognised early on, the path from discovery to impact can be long and difficult," Dr Lyster said. 

"The success of the Signcryption technology is a tribute to not only the quality of the research that led to its development, but also the efforts of Professor Zheng and a commercialisation team over many years.”