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Quantum encryption

Quantum encryption
Highlights

To fight back against the common security attacks, scientists have created a high-speed encryption system to stop hackers. The system is capable of...

To fight back against the common security attacks, scientists have created a high-speed encryption system to stop hackers. The system is capable of distributing encryption codes at megabit-per-second rates, five to 10 times faster than existing methods and on par with current internet speeds when running several systems in parallel. In a study, published in the journal Science Advances, the researchers demonstrate that the technique is secure from common attacks, even in the face of equipment flaws that could open up leaks.

Quantum encryption uses the principles of quantum physics to make a message unreadable to everyone except the intended recipient. Just like all other methods of encryption, the recipient needs to have a "key" to make sense of the message. Think of the key as the secret recipe for understanding the message - it too has to arrive at its destination safely and securely. Quantum key distribution (often shortened to QKD) makes this a much safer proposition than it used to be.

Quantum cryptography draws its strength from the weirdness of reality at small scales. The particles making up our universe are inherently uncertain creatures, able to simultaneously exist in more than one place or more than one state of being. They choose how to behave only when they bump into something else or when we measure their properties. The most popular cryptographic application yet for this strange behaviour is quantum key distribution, aka QKD.

A quantum key encodes and sends the information needed to decrypt a message in the fuzzy properties of particles, typically light particles. Eavesdroppers trying to steal the key must make measurements of those particles to do so. Those measurements change the particles’ behaviour, introducing errors that can be detected and alert users that a key has been compromised and should not be used to encode information, says www.popsi.com.

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