Quantum Cryptography

The Holy Grail of Data Security 

Let's take a closer look at the second item on the list: quantum cryptography. In today's society, data security is a problem that has grown more crucial. 

How can we be sure that no one else has access to our personal digital information? 

Or that third parties don't listen in on our discussions without our knowledge? 

Traditional encryption encrypts a communication with a key code in such a way that decrypting it without knowing the key would demand unreasonably large processing power. But it's like a never-ending competition to build ever-more sophisticated encryption methods that can't be cracked by ever-more powerful computers. 

At least for the dilemma of the unidentified eavesdropper, quantum cryptography offers a solution.

  Quantum key distribution is a critical component of quantum-secure communication: by conveying the key using entangled quantum states of light, any interference in the transmission, such as an eavesdropper in the communication channel, is immediately observable by the user. 

  • Assume A makes a “secure” phone call to B. (in quantum cryptography, A and B are always taken to stand for Alice and Bob). 
  • Both Alice's and Bob's equipment are capable of measuring entangled particles. 
  • When the line is intercepted, Alice and Bob quickly recognize that an undesirable third party (commonly referred to as Eve) is present, because Eve would irreversibly disrupt the entanglement of the particles while listening in, i.e., measuring it for that reason. 
  • She also can't just copy them and transfer the information, the qubit, to the intended recipient without being caught, because it's impossible to duplicate any (yet-to-be-measured) quantum state exactly. 
  • As soon as Alice and Bob observe any changes to their key, or that the entanglement of their particles has been broken, they alter the method of communication and, at least temporarily, prevent the eavesdropper. 

Cryptography relies on a fundamental fact of quantum mechanics: quantum states may never be replicated without affecting the matching state or original information. 

Engineers are currently striving to utilize the odd qualities of the micro universe, which caused so much consternation among physicists in the early part of the twentieth century. 

Physicists went back to the theoretical drawing board during the creation of the first generation of quantum technologies to achieve a proper understanding of the principles that govern the micro universe. Meanwhile, they have made great progress in their efforts. 

Quantum physics and all of its main aspects may now be applied in a technology environment. The fascinating aspect of this approach is that scientists and engineers are working on a whole new universe of possibilities that have never been conceived before, rather than just attempting to make current and familiar things quicker or more exact. 

“The nineteenth century was known as the machine era, the twentieth century will go down in history as the information era,” wrote physicist Paul Davies in 1997. The quantum age, I believe, will begin in the twenty-first century.”

You may also want to read more about Quantum Computing here.

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