Online Security

Zero Knowledge Proof: What Is It? Examples, Blockchain Application, & More

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Passwords are getting hacked at a rapid pace and our digital data isn’t as safe as we’d like it to be.

It seems easier than ever to hack a password, but can digital thieves hack our fingerprints and iris scans? Maybe we should be using other criteria to login to our accounts. Criteria that cannot be duplicated by others. Criteria that is extremely unique to each individual. Perhaps iris scans and fingerprints are just what the digital world needs to safely unlock the online world. Thus, Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) is created.

What Is Zero Knowledge Proof?

A zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) is a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that they know a certain piece of information without revealing any information about the actual content of the knowledge.

Essentially, it’s getting around the need to use passwords in the first place. FIDO stands for Fast IDentity Online. It is a group of businesses that work on reducing the dependency on passwords to authenticate an online account.

The alliance includes big-name companies like Google, Microsoft, and MasterCard. They have created products that abide by the Zero Knowledge Proof protocol, which keeps fingerprint and iris scans protected. Items like key fobs are created with the data and are virtually impossible to hack digitally.

This may sound familiar. Maybe you’re recalling Apple’s iPhone Touch ID technology? Think Apple’s Touch ID but a whole new level since it would be usable for all online accounts and include your unique iris and fingerprint scans (not just Apple products).

6 Facts About Zero Knowledge Proof

  1. Zero-knowledge proofs have been widely studied in the fields of cryptography and computer science since the 1980s.
  2. Zero-knowledge proofs are used in a variety of applications, including secure authentication, privacy-preserving data analytics, and blockchain technology.
  3. Zero-knowledge proof systems can be classified into two categories: interactive and non-interactive. Interactive zero-knowledge proofs require interaction between the prover and verifier, while non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs do not.
  4. Some zero-knowledge proof systems are based on mathematical problems that are believed to be hard to solve, such as the discrete logarithm problem or the integer factorization problem.
  5. Zero-knowledge proof systems can have different levels of efficiency and security, depending on the specific construction and the underlying assumptions.
  6. Research on zero-knowledge proofs is ongoing, and there are many open problems and directions for further investigation.

4 Cons Of Zero Knowledge Proof

  1. Maybe it creeps you out that you’ll have your iris and fingerprint scanned.
  2. Using a second device (for multi-factor, or two-factor authentication) is convenient and seems to be safer than only using a password, so why the need for Zero Knowledge?
  3. Carrying around a key fob or USB may be inconvenient.
  4. If the technology is too difficult, users may become frustrated with their sign in process.

As with any new system, there’s always a learning curve, and people resist change. But keeping your online data safe and secure is extremely important, especially as more and more data moves into the digital stratosphere. As we evolve, so does technology. Does that mean that we will no longer use passwords and instead log in to our accounts with only fingerprint and eye scans? Sounds like a science fiction movie coming to life!

5 Problems With Passwords

We’d like to think that we’re all creative when it comes to creating passwords. That our password is so unique and so original that no one can hack it. Unfortunately, we’re wrong. We’re not as imaginative as we think we are and these password statistics prove it. Here are 7 password stats that might surprise you:

  1. The most common password is “password” and “123456” according to NordPass
  2. 42% of people surveyed by OnePoll use the same password multiple times on multiple sites
  3. A survey by Digital Guardian reveals that 31.3% of people will create new passwords once or twice a year
  4. 61% of breaches are attributed to leveraged credentials, finds a 2022 report by Verizon
  5. Hive System’s password table reveals on average, it takes a hacker about 2 seconds to crack an 11-character password that uses only numbers

The Price of Password Hacks

Consider these three statistics to get an idea of the cost of password vulnerability.

  1. A total of $113 billion is spent for the global consumers when their password is hacked
  2. An average of $5.4 billion is spent each time there is a data security incident for a business in the U.S.
  3. Identity theft victims spend more than 500 hours and $3,000 cleaning up the mess hackers leave behind

What Is Two Factor Authentication And Why Is It Important?

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a form of security where you must authenticate your account twice. First, with the original password you have chosen, and second, with a generated code that changes every 30 seconds or so. So when logging into an account, you will enter your password then the site will prompt you for your second “password” which is most commonly generated through an app or sent via text to your phone.

Two-factor authentication is stronger than the typical login process of entering usernames and passwords because there are two levels of security that a hacker must beat to gain access to your data. Is there an even safer way to secure your data?

ZKP’s And Blockchain

Zero-knowledge proofs offer a secure method to validate information needed to complete cryptocurrency transactions and verify users’ identities while keeping private data hidden. Compared to other cryptography solutions, ZKPs use simple algorithms and require no interaction between the parties involved in transactions.

As blockchain developers recognize ZKPs for their potential to increase trust and confidentiality in the world of cryptography, we will likely see the adoption of ZKPs increase and become essential in blockchain technologies.

Is The Password Dead? (Infographic)

This infographic provides a great look at the evolution of passwords and where they could be heading in the future.

Infographic: Is the password dead?

What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

Do I really need to worry about all this? What’s the worst that can happen if my password gets stolen? Well, depending on what the login was for (bank account, credit card, mortgage payment), it can be pretty bad. Check out our ID theft horror stories for some real-life examples of what could go wrong.

Kimberly Alt

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post. In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

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