Nuclear inspections, for example as part of arms control agreements, often involve compliance verification in sites to which inspectors have limited access. Traditionally, this necessitates the irreversible transfer of inspector-provided sensor equipment to the inspected parties prior to inspection. This can lead to competing interests between inspectors and inspected parties, for example concerning the frequency or intrusiveness of onsite inspections, and regarding the question of mutual trust in the sensor equipment. Meeting these requirements continues to be a challenge.
This project develops a radically new approach to this problem based on the idea of "Virtual Proofs of Reality." Virtual Proofs offer a way to prove physical statements over insecure communication channels between two parties in two separate locations. They do not require classical tamper-resistant sensor hardware with cryptographic keys to this end, but rely on the use of Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) in an interactive protocol instead.