Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Quantum physics secures new cryptography scheme

12.03.2014

The way we secure digital transactions could soon change.

An international team has demonstrated a form of quantum cryptography that can protect people doing business with others they may not know or trust – a situation encountered often on the internet and in everyday life, for example at a bank's ATM.

Vision for Quantum Technology

In the future, quantum cryptography might secure transactions such as identification at ATMs. (This is an artist's impression.) Researchers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle protocol known as 1-2 random oblivious transfer.

Credit: CQT, National University of Singapore

"Having quantum cryptography to hand is a realistic prospect, I think. I expect that quantum technologies will gradually become integrated with existing devices such as smartphones, allowing us to do things like identify ourselves securely or generate encryption keys," says Stephanie Wehner, a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore, and co-author on the paper.

In cryptography, the problem of providing a secure way for two mutually distrustful parties to interact is known as 'two-party secure computation'. The new work, published in Nature Communications, describes the implementation using quantum technology of an important building block for such schemes.

... more about:
»ATM »Computing »IQC »PIN »Quantum »Singapore »optics »photons »technologies

CQT theorists Wehner and Nelly Ng teamed up with researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo, Canada, for the demonstration.

"Research partnerships such as this one between IQC and CQT are critical in moving the field forward," says Raymond Laflamme, Executive Director at the Institute for Quantum Computing. "The infrastructure that we've built here at IQC is enabling exciting progress on quantum technologies."

"CQT and IQC are two of the world's largest, leading research centres in quantum technologies. Great things can happen when we combine our powers," says Artur Ekert, Director of CQT.

The experiments performed at IQC deployed quantum-entangled photons in such a way that one party, dubbed Alice, could share information with a second party, dubbed Bob, while meeting stringent restrictions. Specifically, Alice has two sets of information. Bob requests access to one or the other, and Alice must be able to send it to him without knowing which set he's asked for. Bob must also learn nothing about the unrequested set. This is a protocol known as 1-2 random oblivious transfer (ROT).

ROT is a starting point for more complicated schemes that have applications, for example, in secure identification. "Oblivious transfer is a basic building block that you can stack together, like lego, to make something more fantastic," says Wehner.

Today, taking money out of an ATM requires that you put in a card and type in your PIN. You trust the bank's machine with your personal data. But what if you don't trust the machine? You might instead type your PIN into your trusted phone, then let your phone do secure quantum identification with the ATM (see artist's impression). Ultimately, the aim is to implement a scheme that can check if your account number and PIN matches the bank's records without either you or the bank having to disclose the login details to each other.

Unlike protocols for ROT that use only classical physics, the security of the quantum protocol cannot be broken by computational power. Even if the attacker had a quantum computer, the protocol would remain secure.

Its security depends only on Alice and Bob not being able to store much quantum information for long. This is a reasonable physical assumption, given today's best quantum memories are able to store information for minutes at most. Moreover, any improvements in memory can be matched by changes in the protocol: a bigger storage device simply means more signals have to be sent in order to achieve security. (The idea of 'noisy storage' securing quantum cryptography was developed by Wehner in earlier papers.)

To start the ROT protocol, Alice creates pairs of entangled photons. She measures one of each pair and sends the other to Bob to measure. Bob chooses which photons he wants to learn about, dividing his data accordingly without revealing his picks to Alice. Both then wait for a length of time chosen such that any attempt to store quantum information about the photons is likely to fail. To complete the oblivious transfer, Alice then tells Bob which measurements she made, and they both process their data in set ways that ensure the result is correct and secure within a pre-agreed margin of error.

In the demonstration performed at IQC, Alice and Bob achieved a random oblivious transfer of 1,366 bits. The whole process took about three minutes.

The experiment adapted devices built to do a more standard form of quantum cryptography known as quantum key distribution (QKD), a scheme that generates random numbers for scrambling communication. Devices for QKD are already commercially available, and miniaturised versions of this experiment are in principle possible using integrated optics. In the future, people might carry hand-held quantum devices that can perform this kind of feat.

"We did the experiment with big and bulky optics taking metres of space, but you can well imagine this technology being shrunk down to sit happily next to classical processing circuits on a small little microchip. The field of integrated quantum optics has been progressing in leaps and bounds, and most of the key pieces required to implement ROT have already been successfully demonstrated in integrated setups a few millimetres in size," says Chris Erven, who performed the experiments at IQC as a PhD student under the supervision of Raymond Laflamme and Gregor Weihs. Weihs is now at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Erven is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bristol, UK.

###

Reference:

"An Experimental Implementation of Oblivious Transfer in the Noisy Storage Model", Nature Communications DOI:10.1038/ncomms4418 (2014)

http://www.nature.com/naturecommunications

A preprint is available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1308.5098

Researcher contacts:

Stephanie Wehner
Principal Investigator and Associate Professor, Centre for Quantum Technologies
National University of Singapore
Tel: +65 6601 1478
Email: wehner@comp.nus.edu.sg

Chris Erven
Then: PhD Student, Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, Canada
Now: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bristol, UK
Tel: +44 (0)117 331 7340
Email: chris.erven@bristol.ac.uk

Raymond Laflamme
Executive Director, Institute for Quantum Computing
University of Waterloo, Canada
Tel: +1 519-888-4422
Email: Laflamme@iqc.uwaterloo.ca

Jenny Hogan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.quantumlah.org/

Further reports about: ATM Computing IQC PIN Quantum Singapore optics photons technologies

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Interstellar seeds could create oases of life
28.08.2015 | Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

nachricht Draw out of the predicted interatomic force
28.08.2015 | Hiroshima University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OU astrophysicist and collaborators find supermassive black holes in quasar nearest Earth

A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...

Im Focus: What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...

Im Focus: Self-healing landscape: landslides after earthquake

In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.

These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...

Im Focus: FIC Proteins Send Bacteria Into Hibernation

Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.

For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IPA develops prototype of intelligent care cart

It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.

Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

Large agribusiness management strategies

19.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

28.08.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

An ounce of prevention: Research advances on 'scourge' of transplant wards

28.08.2015 | Health and Medicine

Fish Oil-Diet Benefits May be Mediated by Gut Microbes

28.08.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>