New encryption methods are vital for the modern day security considerations. Unlike the olden days, it is not sufficient to convey a message that can be decoded only by the intended recipient. In this modern world of digital computers, there are new demands of cryptography technology, and this is what zero knowledge proofs is precisely all about. But, it’s not limited to just personal computers, but this is pretty much applicable to tablets, smartphones, and netbooks too.
There was a time when cell phones were used merely for keeping in touch with near and dear ones, but with passage of time, they’re being used to convey highly confidential matters too. In such cases, it’s imperative to take care of the security aspect.
Understanding the Zero Knowledge Proofs
Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) in cryptography is an interactive method in which one party proves to the other that a statement (normally mathematical) is true without disclosing anything except for the reality of the statement. It is also known as zero knowledge protocol. Now, let’s delve more into its nitty-gritty.
Properties to be satisfied
ZKP must satisfy the following three properties:
- Completeness: If the statement is true, the honest prover will convince this fact to the honest verifier (one who follows the protocol properly)
- Soundness: In case the statement is false, the dishonest prover cannot convince the honest verifier that it is true, except for very minor possibilities.
- Zero Knowledge: In case the statement is true, a dishonest verifier cannot learn anything except for the fact. This is formalized by proving that every dishonest verifier has some kind of simulator that when only the statement to be proven is given without any kind of access to the prover, it can generate a transcript, which looks similar to an interaction between the dishonest verifier and honest prover.
The first two properties are more of general interactive proof systems, while the third is a specific zero knowledge proof system, which ascertains the validity of every data transfer.
Zero Knowledge and Bit Commitments
ZKP makes use of bit commitments for proofs based on graph colorations. For instance, bit commitment schemes are used for encoding the colors in zero knowledge. More intricate zero knowledge proofs with several intermediate steps that need to be verified, also make use of bit commitment schemes.
One of the most interesting applications of zero knowledge proof in cryptographic protocol is to implement honest behavior, while also maintaining privacy.
It can be useful in applications where secret knowledge that is very sensitive to reveal has to be verified. It can be useful in modern day applications like smart cards, key authentication, and PIN numbers. Basically, ZKC systems can come in handy in all industrial applications wherein a user needs to be authenticated without really seeking confidential information; just the way customer support representatives authenticate credentials of a customer over telephone by requesting them to enter PIN number on the IVR system.
But, the actual implementations of ZKC have not been proposed quite yet, as it’s pretty intriguing, and at the same time a really promising way of uncovering the truth.
Thus, concept of zero knowledge proof is of significant practical and theoretical interest for cryptographers and mathematicians. It achieves the seemingly opposing goals of giving a statement without telling anything other than the fact that it is a true statement. It’s quite probable that we might see implementation of this technology in lie detectors, as well as telecommunication field such as authenticating telephone calls, or VOIP calls in future.
Victor Dubov is a technology freak who loves to explore the latest developments in the industry, and review the latest gadgets in the market. He is also a social media marketer who has helped countless firms in the branding process such as UcallWeconn.