Core Concepts

A novel, computationally simple method of hiding any message in a stream of random bits using a secret key, without relying on any arithmetic function.

Abstract

The authors present a new cryptographic method called Bury Among Random Numbers (BARN), which utilizes a hardware-based true random number generator (TRNG) to hide a message within a stream of random bits. The key aspects of the BARN cipher are:
The message is embedded into the stream of random bits by selectively replacing certain bits based on a secret key. The key consists of a set of natural, non-zero numbers that determine the positions of the message bits within the random bit stream.
The process of creating the key involves extracting digits from a stream of random bits generated by the TRNG, using different number systems (ternary, quaternary, octal, decimal, or hexadecimal). This allows for a wide range of key lengths and security levels.
The BARN cipher is computationally simple, as it does not rely on any arithmetic functions, making it suitable for low-power devices like IoT. The authors provide estimates of the number of permutations that would need to be tested during a brute-force attack, demonstrating the high level of security offered by the method.
The authors discuss various practical applications of the BARN cipher, such as encoding short text messages, audio/video streams, and cloud-based file storage, depending on the required throughput and security needs.

Stats

The BARN cipher enlarges the original message by a factor of 1.5 for ternary keys, 2 for quaternary keys, 4 for octal keys, 5 for decimal keys, and 8 for hexadecimal keys.

Quotes

"Any one who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin. For, as has been pointed out several times, there is no such thing as a random number - there are only methods to produce random numbers, and a strict arithmetic procedure of course is not such a method."
John von Neumann

Key Insights Distilled From

by Jan J. Tatar... at **arxiv.org** 04-16-2024

Deeper Inquiries

To extend the BARN cipher to support asymmetric encryption for public-key cryptography, a key exchange mechanism similar to Diffie-Hellman could be implemented. This would involve generating a public-private key pair where the public key can be used for encryption by anyone, but only the corresponding private key holder can decrypt the message.
In this scenario, each user would have their unique public-private key pair. When encrypting a message, the sender would use the recipient's public key to encode the message using the BARN cipher. The recipient, in possession of their private key, would then be able to decrypt the message. This asymmetric encryption approach would enhance the security and flexibility of the BARN cipher, enabling secure communication between parties without the need to share a secret key.

While the BARN cipher offers robust security through the use of hardware-based entropy sources and the complexity of the key space, there are still potential vulnerabilities and attack vectors that could be explored to compromise the encryption.
One possible vulnerability could arise from weaknesses in the implementation of the key generation process. If there are patterns or biases in how keys are derived from the random bits, an attacker could exploit these weaknesses to deduce the key and decrypt the messages. Additionally, if there are flaws in the algorithm itself that introduce predictability in the encryption process, it could be exploited to break the cipher.
Moreover, side-channel attacks, such as timing attacks or power analysis attacks, could be used to extract information about the key or the encrypted message by analyzing the physical characteristics of the encryption process. These attacks could potentially reveal sensitive information and compromise the security of the BARN cipher.

In addition to True Random Number Generators (TRNGs), other hardware-based entropy sources could be leveraged to enhance the security and versatility of the BARN cipher. One such source is Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs), which exploit the unique physical characteristics of integrated circuits to generate random values. PUFs can provide a high level of entropy and could be used in conjunction with TRNGs to strengthen the randomness of the key generation process in the BARN cipher.
Furthermore, environmental noise sources, such as thermal noise or radioactive decay, can also serve as entropy sources for generating random bits. By incorporating multiple diverse entropy sources, the BARN cipher can increase its resistance to attacks and improve the overall security of the encryption scheme. Additionally, the use of multiple entropy sources can enhance the reliability and robustness of the cipher, making it more adaptable to various hardware environments and applications.

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