When you hear “lava lamp”,  internet security probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But someone at Cloudflare obviously connected the two ideas, because the tech firm is now using a wall display of lava lamps to encrypt their data.

Wait, what?

It sounds bizarre, but consider how lava lamps work: As the light bulb inside the lamp heats the floating wax, it changes shapes and proportions, and even floats up and down inside the liquid-filled tube. The wax constantly shifts, and never takes the same shape twice.

An engineer with Cloudflare had the idea to position cameras on the ceiling above the lobby’s lava lamp display. The cameras take pictures which are then converted into numerical sequences and used to encrypt messages sent and received across the company’s servers.

The random nature of the lava’s shape, and therefore the generated numerical sequences, are perfect for data encryption. No two numerical sequences are used twice and they are completely unpredictable. That’s a good thing with regard to data encryption. It’s pretty much hacker-proof!

Of course, there is no need to use lava lamps to generate numerical sequences and you can securely encrypt your data without using such a roundabout (and slightly bizarre) method. Cloudflare likely just wanted to make a point about the nature of data encryption: The data that you send online, everything from emails to your credit card numbers, should be converted into an encrypted code that can only be unscrambled by the intended recipient. This way, if messages are intercepted, the person intercepting them can’t use the data.

Lava lamps were just one clever (and pretty groovy) way to accomplish that goal. But there are other, simpler ways of encrypting your data, to keep both yourself and your customers or clients safe. Give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH to learn more about data encryption and internet security. We won’t show up with a van full of lava lamps, but we’ll definitely get the job done.