DNA-based cryptography


Journal Article

Recent research has considered DNA as a medium for ultra-scale computation and for ultra-compact information storage. One potential key application is DNA-based, molecular cryptography systems. We present some procedures for DNA-based cryptography based on one-time-pads that are in principle unbreakable. Practical applications of cryptographic systems based on one-time-pads are limited in conventional electronic media by the size of the one-time-pad; however DNA provides a much more compact storage medium, and an extremely small amount of DNA suffices even for huge one-time-pads. We detail procedures for two DNA one-time-pad encryption schemes: (i) a substitution method using libraries of distinct pads, each of which defines a specific, randomly generated, pair-wise mapping; and (ii) an XOR scheme utilizing molecular computation and indexed, random key strings. These methods can be applied either for the encryption of natural DNA or for artificial DNA encoding binary data. In the latter case, we also present a novel use of chip-based DNA micro-array technology for 2D data input and output. Finally, we examine a class of DNA steganography systems, which secretly tag the input DNA and then hide it within collections of other DNA. We consider potential limitations of these steganographic techniques, proving that in theory the message hidden with such a method can be recovered by an adversary. We also discuss various modified DNA steganography methods which appear to have improved security. © Springer-Verlag 2004.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gehani, A; Labean, T; Reif, J

Published Date

  • December 1, 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2950 /

Start / End Page

  • 167 - 188

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1611-3349

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0302-9743

Citation Source

  • Scopus