NEWS: Quantum Cryptography Hacked

2 05 2007

You might want to check out the Quantum Cryptography wiki before proceeding.  I know I did.

I just sorta stumbled across this article and I was pretty blown away by both its complexity and what it could mean (waaaaaaaaay in the future) for super secret crypto.

news @ – Quantum cryptography is hacked – Simulation proves it’s possible to eavesdrop on super-secure encrypted messages.

A team of researchers has, for the first time, hacked into a network protected by quantum encryption.Quantum cryptography uses the laws of quantum mechanics to encode data securely. Most researchers consider such quantum networks to be nearly 100% uncrackable. But a group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge was able to ‘listen in’ using a sort of quantum-mechanical wiretap. The trick allowed them to tease out about half of the data, in a way that couldn’t be detected by those transmitting or receiving the message.

Just goes to show you that nothing is 100% uncrackable.  However, this isn’t one of those hacks that is of concern to anyone right now.  Here’s why:

To listen in, the team used a quantum-mechanical principle known as entanglement, which can link together two different traits of a particle. Using an optical setup, the team was able to entangle the transmitted photon’s polarization with its momentum. The eavesdropper could then measure the momentum in order to get information about the polarization, without affecting the original polarization.

I’m just gonna guess that this was neither easy nor inexpensive.  Quantum cryptography can only be used across fiber optic cables.  To start, you’d need access to those cables.  Then you’d need the hardware to “wiretap” those cables without alerting the end users.  Then of course you’d have to understand quantum mechanics…

I don’t see this hack being employed en mass anytime soon.  However, I don’t see quantum crytography employed en mass either.

Still, pretty kewl though.



One response

15 06 2012

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