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Quantum Cryptography Hailed to be Unbreakable  (Source: BBC News)
Quantum encryption uses photons to deliver encryption keys

Data security is paramount in today's sensitive business environments. Hackers today can get into networks that store financial data like bank accounts or credit card numbers and make off with millions in stolen property.

Encryption is used on most networks that store this sort of data, but encryption is not unbreakable. A new form of encryption has been introduced at a scientific conference in Vienna. According to BBC News, the new encryption method is called quantum cryptography and it's unbreakable.

A demonstration of the quantum cryptography system was performed on a network connecting six locations around Vienna. The locations were connected using standard fiber optic cable. The quantum cryptography was devised by Charles Bennett of IBM and Gilles Brassard of Montreal University.

The basis for the cryptographic system is described by Brassard, "All quantum security schemes are based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, on the fact that you cannot measure quantum information without disturbing it."

He continued telling BBC News, "Because of that, one can have a communications channel between two users on which it's impossible to eavesdrop without creating a disturbance. An eavesdropper would create a mark on it. That was the key idea."

The system sends faint beams of light containing single photons fired a million times per second from which a numerical key can be recovered. The advantage of the system is that if anyone eavesdrops on the communication between nodes the key is disturbed and the node shuts down. At the same time the hacked node shuts down the network is routed to another node to keep it running.

Two different methods are available to send the encryption key in the quantum system. One looks at the direction the photons are polarized and the other looks at the precise timing of the arrival of the photons. Any network using quantum cryptography put into use would have to be able to work with both types of encryption methods.

Dr. Hans Huebel from the Vienna University said, " We are constantly in touch with insurance companies and banks, and they say it's nearly better that they lose 10 million euros than if the system is down for two hours, because that might be more damaging for the bank. So that's what we have to prove, that we have a reliable system that delivers quantum keys for several weeks without interruption, and then they might be more interested."

DailyTech first reported on quantum computers for cryptography in August of 2007.



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This is fundamentally unbreakable/unhackable
By the goat on 10/9/2008 3:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
All you guys posting about this being hacked once somebody sets there mind to it are wrong. This is not something that is really really extremely hard to hack. This is impossible to hack.

Based on the most advanced scientific theories, this system is unbreakable. The only way to hack this system is to first discover that our understanding of quantum mechanics is fundamentally flawed.

It is not out of the question that a more advanced scientific theory will come along that disproves quantum mechanics. But that will not result in a system like this suddenly being hacked.

After all Einstein's theory of general relativity proved Newton's theory of gravity was wrong. But NASA still used Newton's equations to go to the moon and back.




RE: This is fundamentally unbreakable/unhackable
By GeorgeH on 10/9/2008 3:48:04 PM , Rating: 5
Not to be overly pedantic, but Einstein didn't prove Newton wrong - he proved that Newton's equations were a limit of a deeper theory.


By the goat on 10/10/2008 9:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not to be overly pedantic, but Einstein didn't prove Newton wrong - he proved that Newton's equations were a limit of a deeper theory.


So Einstein simply revised and extended Newton's theory after Newton was dead? No General Relativity is a separate theory from the theory of Gravity (Newton's Universal Gravitation).


By TestKing123 on 10/9/2008 4:32:33 PM , Rating: 3
This needs to be mentioned one more time to hammer the point in. Einstein did NOT "prove Newton wrong" any more than Quantum Mechanics "proved Relativity wrong". Relativity takes over where Newton's equations fail, just as Quantum Mechanics takes over where relativity fails.

And, you're wrong. This is not IMPOSSIBLE to hack. The point of this system is still to generate an encryption key. A true Quantum computer (if ever created) will be able to break the encryption scheme.


RE: This is fundamentally unbreakable/unhackable
By the goat on 10/10/2008 9:00:27 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
This needs to be mentioned one more time to hammer the point in. Einstein did NOT "prove Newton wrong" any more than Quantum Mechanics "proved Relativity wrong". Relativity takes over where Newton's equations fail, just as Quantum Mechanics takes over where relativity fails.


Wow you must not understand General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. These two theories do not cover the same subject. Relativity deals only with large objects. Where Quantum Mechanics deals only with small objects. Where each theory applies is clearly defined in the theory itself. There is no confusion about this. So there is no way for one of these theories to disprove the other. They are fundamentally separate branches of physics.

Please explain how General Relativity didn't disprove Newton's theory of Gravity? they both are defined as explaining the same physical phenomenon. The theory of Gravity includes equations which have been proven to be inaccurate (always, even if only a tiny bit). The theory of General Relativity includes equations describing the exact same thing that have not been proven wrong.

You seem to be saying that Newton's theory of Gravity only applies in certain cases where the margin of error is small and unimportant. Therefore it has not been proven wrong. Sorry but that makes no sense.

quote:
And, you're wrong. This is not IMPOSSIBLE to hack. The point of this system is still to generate an encryption key. A true Quantum computer (if ever created) will be able to break the encryption scheme.


Again you don't seem to understand the subject at hand. The point of this new system is not to generate an encryption key . The point is to see if the message you are receiving has been observed .

Of coarse you can intercept this signal and read the message. But with this system the intended receiver will know that the message was intercepted somewhere. Simply observing the transmission changes the transmission . Once that happens the receiver would tell the transmitter to stop sending. This results in basically no information falling into the wrong hands. The data can be transmitted such that one packet of info in the wrong hands is worthless (even with a quantum computer).


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/10/2008 11:17:47 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Simply observing the transmission changes the transmission .

I still get the feeling that there is a way around this problem. I'm aware of the current theories but Quantum Mechanics is in general a very very wooly discipline with very little explained in great detail. It's more of a collection of observations of things that don't seem to work the way we think they should.


By coolPC on 10/11/2008 12:57:37 PM , Rating: 1
don't the laws of thermodynamics come into play. there is always a loss of energy. the only thing necessary to "observe" the transmission is finding a way to interpret the leaked/lost energy.


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