Sanjam Garg, Alumni of IIT-Delhi batch of 2008, has won the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) award for the year 2013. Sanjam's work revolved around the problem of making software code unintelligible to the hackers; by making it almost impossible for to read and understand. The technique has been used primarily to avoid reverse engineering the code. Garg developed new mathematical models and tools that essentially transform a software code into jigsaw puzzle of individually encrypted pieces. With respect to every input, there is a unique set of pieces of puzzle that when assembled correctly, reveal the output of the program.
Image Credit: UCLA
The approach makes the code totally incomprehensible to the hackers. Illegitimate combination of the pieces of the code do not reveal anything. This technique can be incredibly useful in thwarting cyber attacks on critical systems that process or store secure data. Garg's research has been titled as "Candidate Multilinear Maps" and is available on his official website.
ACM has described Sanjam's work as a breakthrough as it makes it impossible to reverse-engineer the obfuscated code. Even if an attempt is made using the most modern computer, solving the mathematical models to penetrate into it would take several hundred years. Sanjam will receive the award on June 21 at San Francisco, CA. The prize money, $20,000 has been sponsord by Google Inc.