|Sami Ghanmi |||Apr 10, 2015 08:21 AM EDT|
(Photo : fraunhofer.de) The Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT)
With the rise of mass surveillance efforts being carried out by intelligence agencies, researchers and industry professionals are currently working together to look for solutions that will enable them to protect sensitive information from being breached.
Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT) in Darmstadt, Germany claim to have developed an open-source encryption software concept and infrastructure to specifically tackle this problem.
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As part of the Fraunhofer Institute's open initiative called "Volksverschlüsselung" ("People Encryption"), researchers aim to provide both businesses and ordinary users with end-to-end user-friendly encryption software that can automatically install cryptographic keys on computers.
"With this initiative and what it's developing, Fraunhofer is supporting the German government's efforts to better protect people and companies," said Michael Waidner, a professor and head of the Fraunhofer SIT.
The software works by recognizing which applications in a computer or smartphone can use cryptography, while automatically allocating proper keys to each application.
It can also be used to generate keys that allow users to encrypt files including emails.
"It works like a phone book," said project manager Michael Herfert. "Anyone can look up and download public keys. The central infrastructure also ensures that the keys actually belong to the person requesting them and helps prevent identity fraud."
A prototype of the encryption software was presented at the CeBIT 2015, in Hanover, Germany last March 16 to March 20.
Former NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden spoke remotely from Russia to information technology professionals and industry leaders at the CeBIT 2015 event, and said encryption is the best solution for protecting private information.
During the event, Snowden also added that spies are gaining access to systems by directly targeting IT professionals, systems administrators and engineers.
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