61. What Is Probabilistic Encryption?
Cryptography is an important part of blockchain technology. Blockchain development in essence would not be possible if it were not for probabilistic encryption.
So what is this type of encryption? It is an algorithm that can apply randomness to the entire encryption mechanism. As a result, for each input of data, a different result will be obtained with each interaction performed. This is how probabilistic encryption algorithms offer a higher level of security than that achieved by widely used deterministic techniques.
The use of probabilistic encryption is expected to improve asymmetric cryptography. At this point you need to remember one very important thing – probabilistic encryption is an important element when it comes to protecting the privacy of our daily digital lives. And we are not just talking about blockchain, but about every aspect of technology.
Probabilistic Encryption – How Does It Work?
In its operation, it uses randomness in the encryption algorithm. So, for example, during multiple encryptions of the same text, we obtain different encrypted texts. The probabilistic algorithm itself triggers a random number generator and uses in its operation the output of this generator in such a way that the result depends on… random numbers and the plaintext and key.
This type of encryption is so secure that it very often causes problems. Especially when the logic is performed on the database or when the encrypted values are compared with a given string, or among themselves. Usually this term is used to refer to public-key encryption algorithms. However, different encryption algorithms, especially those with a symmetric key, achieve similar properties. Therefore, in order to be semantically secure and hide partial information in plaintext, an encryption algorithm must be probabilistic.
The History of Probabilistic Encryption Systems
To further understand the algorithm, let’s take a look at its history. The algorithm is credited to Ralph Merkle, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. It was they who proposed the first cryptographic proposals that used elements of probabilistic encryption in their operation. The success basically was that this new idea effectively secured a new communications horse even when the communications environment itself was not secured.
As a result, this much-needed advance led to the creation of one of the first asymmetric encryption systems with the most widely used probabilistic element – the RSA algorithm.
The RSA protocol is still used on the Internet, as well as in many digital systems around the world. Currently, however, the use of probabilistic algorithms in RSA is relatively small.
Security of Cryptographic Systems Using Probabilistic Algorithms
The problem that arises with probabilistic encryption systems is that creating them using deterministic machines always creates a loophole or space where we cannot fully verify security.
In theory – they are perfect. In practice, at the level of algorithm implementation we cannot fully guarantee its security. Of course, this problem can be solved with quantum computers. You will probably ask – but how? Well, they are inherently probabilistic, and it is thanks to them that we can fully verify the security of cryptographic systems.
What else do you need to know about this encryption method? That existing implementations are computationally inefficient and do not compensate for security, especially in terms of the computing power consumed and the performance the algorithm offers. In the case of probabilistic encryption, there is still much to be done.
Until we develop complex algorithms that take full advantage of this encryption model, we are left to improve the probabilistic basis that already exists and protects us today.