Augmented reality glasses do not have a good reputation when it comes to privacy. However, researchers at the University of North Carolina think that these glasses could actually provide excellent privacy to the wearer through encrypted communication. Sensitive data for these AR glasses would not be decrypted on computer screens. Only the recipient will be able to see the decrypted data in their eyes. The researchers at the university have developed a trial system of supposed “visual cryptography” which is designed to send secret messages to the wearer of an augmented reality headset.
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Text Encryption with New System
The system which they developed and tested contains encrypted information in the form of random black and white static collections. When the recipient’s augmented reality glasses overlay another such image over their vision, a readable image is formed with the combination of these two.
With this system, someone could decode encrypted text in such a way that it couldn’t be read by anybody snooping over the shoulder of the recipient. This is because the text is not decrypted on the reader’s screen.
The system could also be used to overlay a keypad with random numbers over an ATM’s display. The bank customer’s pin could be kept safe in this way as they type it.
UNC researcher Sarah Andrabi, said “When you overlay the secret visual share, only you can see the final message,” where “visual share” refers to the two unreadable images that create the message. He added “That secret is now only for the user’s eye.”
The study was presented at the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security where people had to decode characters written in braille from two superimposed images, one on a computer monitor and another on Google Glass. The computer test was okay but the lens of Google Glass was tiny. So instead, Epson Moverio headset was used. Test subjects were shown a set of images that resembled collections of black and white pixels. As the headset superimposed a second set of pixelated images, each pixel that didn’t match the one below it, became a part of a number or letter and the participants were able to read the secret message easily.
This encrypted communication AR system worked properly, where out of 30 participants, 26 could read each character with 100 percent accuracy and 4 with 80 percent accuracy.
The researchers at the University of North Carolina believe that this AR system could solve a serious issue relating data encryption- compromise of secret message with computer hacking or otherwise. They argue that this system will allow the decryption of data for only the user’s eyes and brain.
Andrabi says “Even if the device you’re using is compromised, it still won’t know anything because it’s not actually doing the decryption for you.”
As of now, we can seriously hope that AR glasses will be able to relay secret messages safely to the users in the future.
What do you think?
What’s your thought on data encryption? Do you think AR headsets will be safe for decryption of messages? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Source – xconomy.com