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Quantum Encryption - Unbreakable
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Summary
As computers get faster and more powerful and as computer hackers get smarter and more sophisticated, it is becoming a daunting task to track eve droppers and miscreants. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have got closer to a practical solution to defeat the bad guys. They developed a high speed system using individual particles of light, or photons to first scramble and then decode large amounts of data including videos transmitted in real time. Xiao Tang, a physicist at NIST explains that the speed of their quantum key distribution system is extremely fast thereby allowing for encryption and decryption in real time. Current encryption systems use secret codes based on random numbers with hundreds of digits to encrypt the data. But like the vault at the bank, they can be broken with enough time and computer resources by finding the right combination. Quantum encryption uses even longer strings of constantly changing secret digits. But the most important feature is that the secret key and the combination are written in a kind of a disappearing ink that only the sender and receiver can read. Alan Mink an electronics engineer at NIST says that as soon as information is extracted from a photon, the information gets destroyed. If once a message is received, it guarantees that it has not been eaves dropped by anyone. While a few more companies have developed quantum encryption systems, the system developed by NIST is unusually fast. NIST’s system can individually encrypt every pixel of a web quality video in real time and in addition each key used by the system is used only once. Their framework uses optical fibers to transmit the data and is being sought out as the best system existent till now thereby making it a quantum leap in the world of computer security.
Keywords: Quantum Encryption, Quantum Key Distribution, Cryptography, BB84 protocol, Superposition, Indeterminacy, Algorithm, Qubits, Photons, Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Photon Polarization
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