The thermal (emitted) infrared frequency bands, typically from 20-40 THz and 60-100 THz, are best known for applications in thermography, such as target acquisition, surveillance, night vision, and remote sensing. This unregulated part of the spectral range offers opportunities for the development of short-range secure communications. The ‘THz Torch’ concept was recently demonstrated by the authors. This technology fundamentally exploits engineered blackbody radiation, by partitioning thermally-generated spectral noise power into pre-defined frequency channels. The energy in each channel is then independently pulse-modulated, transmitted and detected, creating a robust form of short-range secure communications in the far/mid infrared. In this paper, recent progress for the ‘THz Torch’ technology will be presented; the physical level integrity for multichannel proof-of-concept working demonstrators will be evaluated. By exploring a diverse range of methods, significant enhancements to both data rate and distance can be expected. Our thermodynamics-based approach represents a new paradigm in the sense that 19th century physics can be exploited with 20th century multiplexing concepts for low-cost 21st century ubiquitous security and defence applications in the thermal infrared range.