In an era of cyber wars through the Internet, students at the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) have developed digital protection to ensure that users’ identity will not be abused and to prevent the “planting” of false information, JCT said on Tuesday.

Recent reports of a cyber attack that paralyzed Haifa’s Carmel tunnels in September again proved that while Internet use is highly beneficial, it can also lead to crime, theft and the intentional insertion of false data.

Eliran Gilad and Nehemia Lilenthal of the electronic engineering department at the Orthodox college maintain that they have found a way to fight the negative phenomena.

The new development was presented last Thursday at a competition of the Society of Electrical and Electronic Engineering- Israel (SEEEI) society.

The pair of JCT students participated in the competition along with others from all university electronic engineering departments and engineering colleges in the country. The two JCT students’ project, supervised by JCT engineering department lecturer Uri Stroh, was one of the competition’s top three winners.

The two students used an algorithm to produce a digital signature for data with a variable length. The original algorithm was developed by a team of world-renowned scientists in cooperation with the Intel Corporation.

In the last few years, the complex formula was cited by an international competition run by NIST, the US National Institute for Standards and Technology, for setting a new standard for the SHA-3 HASH algorithm.

The JCT project made use of advanced tools of the Synopsys company, which is at the forefront of such technology, JCT said.

Licenses to use the technology were purchased in recent years by JCT, and as part of the students’ project, they were put to use to pave the way for future projects and courses.

Digital signatures have several uses in information security.

One of them is for authenticating the identity of Internet users. In this way, a signature was produced on documents and identification of users.

These signatures are stored on the server, and clients are used to secure the information in the database from external factors.

So far, the use of digital signatures has been through software, which makes its performance slow. The two college students’ digital protection makes use of hardware 100 times faster than the the software implementation and allows the generation of digital signatures at tremendous speed and with almost no delay.

The technology is especially relevant for servers with heavy loads. Using the development, hackers who try to break into the system will be unable to figure out others’ user names and steal their identify. In the new system, servers do not store identities and passwords but digital signatures.

“We were proud to be among the top three winners,” said Gilad, “and we hope we will be able to help preserve the safety level of the Internet.”

JCT electronics engineering department head Dr. Yvgeny Friedman praised his students for their accomplishment, while JCT CEO Shai Gilboa said he was happy to see the students proven to be among the leaders in computers and technology.

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