Hackers beware! New technique uses photons, physics to foil codebreakers
Quantum cryptography allows transmission of data through fibre optic cable´s
For governments and corporations in the business of transmitting sensitive data such as banking records or personal information over fibre optic cables, a new system demonstrated by University of Toronto researchers offers the protective equivalent of a fire-breathing dragon.
“Quantum cryptography is trying to make all transmissions secure, so this could be very useful for online banking, for example,” says Professor Hoi-Kwong Lo, an expert in physics and electrical and computer engineering at U of T’s Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control and the senior author of a new study about the technique. “The idea can be implemented now, because we actually did the experiment with a commercial device.”
The study describes the first experimental proof of a quantum decoy technique to encrypt data over fibre optic cable. In quantum cryptography, laser light particles (photons) carry complex encryption keys through fibre optic cables, dramatically increasing the security of transmitted data. Conventional encryption is based on the assumed complexity of mathematical problems that traditional computers can solve. But quantum cryptography is based on fundamental laws of physics — specifically, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which tells us that merely observing a quantum object alters it.
The technique varies the intensity of photons and introduces photonic “decoys,” which were transmitted over a 15-kilometre telecommunication fibre. After the signals are sent, a second broadcast tells the receiving computer which photons carried the signal and which were decoys. If a hacker tries to “eavesdrop” on the data stream to figure out the encryption key, the mere act of eavesdropping changes the decoys — a clear sign to the receiving computer that the data has been tampered with.
The study appears in the Feb. 24 issue of Physical Review Letters and was funded by Connaught, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, id Quantique, the Ontario Innovation Trust, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award, the Canadian Institute for Photonics Innovations, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the University of Toronto.
Hoi-Kwong Lo, Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control, University of Toronto; e-mail: email@example.com, 416-946-5525
Nicolle Wahl | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...