In the world of IT, it really doesn't matter how much data you can transmit if you can't send it safely and securely. Now, Toshiba researchers in the UK have created the first high-speed network connection that is theoretically impossible to hack, tapping the quantum properties of photons encrypt data that was beamed through more than 30 miles of optical cable.
Quantum encryption involves one party sending a "key" to another party that is embedded in the quantum properties of a photon string. The laws of quantum mechanics protect this data, ensuring that if any third party messes with the quantum key, the key will be altered and the foul play will become evident.
While this concept isn't new, it wasn't previously feasible. The most efficient way to pass encoded quantum strings back and forth was through the air, but even the best attempts at that could only transmit the key several hundred meters. Toshiba was seeking a way to integrate quantum broadband into existing infrastructure that would allow photon transmission across greater distances.
Of course, sending photons through existing optical fiber isn't new either, but Toshiba's breakthrough came on the back of a new photon detector that can actually pick up individual photons at the hard-to-detect wavelengths required for long-distance data transmission. The transfer rates are nothing to scoff at either; the1 megabit-per-second data speeds the team achieved are fast enough to stream video.
I actually remember when you guys first reported on this sort of encryption about six or seven years ago. Same issue that you were talking about the rise of Mozilla. How times change.
I give it a year maybe 2 before datathieves and hackers figure out a way to bust it.
Not likely, First off it is impossible to hack fiber... its not like you can just splice right into it, like you can with existing copper lines. Secondly, you would have to have the hardware to hack it, since the hardware is at whatever company/agency that is providing the cable, then any malcontent is not "probably" going to have access. More likely right now ,IMO, this is a mute point. When we have fiber running into everyone's homes like copper is now, that's when this will be effective, that is also when malcontents will have the opportunity/capability to hack it. As of right now or anywhere in the near future definitely not likely IMO.
Never underestimate hackers.
"Security" is only there to keep honest people honest
and there will always be some hacker/student that has the resources to figure it out.
This is not some matter of getting the hardware to connect to it. This is also not some mathmatical puzzle like RSA encryption that can be number crunched to be cracked. The very nature of quantum mechanics dictates that when person A transmitts to person B that if person C were to somehow (no matter the method) observe the event then the signal breakes down entirely. This is known as the observer effect and it cannot be beaten anymore than say the law of gravity. In other words you can't hack it unless you can utilize some as yet unknown principle of quantum mechanics. I am sorry but that is just not going to happen in somebody's garage. The only way you are going to compromize the data is at the terminal points. You still can't protect against someone looking over someones shoulder at the decrypted message.
Thank you Edison,
Its been a while since my p-chem and physics courses. You explained it much more fluently than i could have. But I really like this application of QM. Its one of those things that you sit there in class and wonder "Why am i learning this" and then something like this comes along and you're kinda glad you paid attention
so wait, if you need to send the key, can't somebody intercept the key and give them a new key straight from say your computer? then use the key they got to set up a relay system between the three computers?
and this also introduces a new dos attack, if the message is destroyed simply by being viewed then all you would have to do is have a very common splice between the wires. easy social engineering could make this extremely feasible, the very thing that makes this system secure would be it's own denial of service.
it's a good concept but like all other security is not hacker proof and is only as useful/secure as the person sitting between the keyboard and chair.
Not really. The key wouldn't be seen, as stated by Edison's comment just a few above yours. The information would fail to materialize and then the receiver would know something is amiss. As for DDoS a physical attack makes little sense for the common hacker and is well beyond their means in the first place. Think about it this way, the person would need to go out of their way to physically hunt down the specific server that the website what being hosted on in the first place. Many times these are overseas and then all it would take is the Admin to try and access his own domain to discover their problem. A quick inquiry as to whether or not the servers are down on their end and just an easy look at their own system would make such an attack useless. As for the bigger guys like Google - do you really think you'd even take down a portion of the 1,000,000+ servers they own? To do any real harm you'd need to go hit the trans-atlantic cables and nature is more frequently harming those than anyone.
this is a solution to key-exchange. since that's one of the biggest problems with secure transmissions.. that you have an awesome algorithm but you have no secure way of transmitting the keys.. phone calls can be intercepted.. usb keys can be copied.. paper can be copied.. there are always points of failure when it comes to key exchange..
this method uses the fact that we don't have a technology available to replicate polarization in photons.. (from my limited understanding)
Soo.. a more technical explanation of "fails to materialize" :
basically they create a photon(light particle) with a led and the photon is unpolarized.. in layman's terms it's moving in every direction at the same time so it's a totally random thing..
they then send this unpolarized photon through a filter where it's polarized (gets a measurable spin) and then sent off to the other party via fiber.
since the polarization is totally random and no technology even theory (as far as my limited knowledge goes) is available to replicate a polarized photon you end up destroying the transmission if you try to listen in on it.
so.. if you manage to splice into the fiber and read the spin of the polarized photon you have then effectively ruined the only photon with that exact spin and you have no way of re-creating it.. so the intended destination doesn't receive anything or you send him another polarized photon that won't have the same spin and you break the key-exchange.
i read earlier some exploits to this but that mostly seems to exploit poorly designed devices at each end rather then the technology itself.
This is like saying that you're going to mail a letter to your friend in an envelope that only your friend can open. Even if the envelope is perfectly hack-proof, someone can still watch you write the letter, or watch your friend read it. My point is that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The weak link in the practical every-day use of technology such as this will be the end users. Spyware programs, key loggers, etc, installed on the transmitting or receiving ends. Don't get me wrong, the technology is cool, and worth the effort in a lot of circumstances, but nothing is hack-proof. There's always a way around, if not through.
No-one is saying this is a end-to-end solution for home users.. if you read up you realize your comment is repetitive at best.
This is not a end-to-end solution, maybe the article is misleading in that way but the comments sure aren't. This is a solution to one of the parts that make up secure transmissions , namely "key exchange" .
This is aimed at closed circuit systems that already have heavily regulated end-points. Where key-exchange already is a weak link.
I'm not sure why you'd bother. Almost all "hacking" is in the form of social engineering.
How would government agencies track emails of web terrorists or crimes such as child pornography or any other crime or have proof a crime has been committed if there are no actual emails that can be intercepted? Would any government allow this? Also who will control the high speed network connections?Does that mean that a much lower number of connections give only a few people control of internet communication and how would anyone know if they were blocking communication from various sources as the point of origin would not be anonymous would it?
It is not impossible to hacker fiber. Tools exist to do this. I've done it. The trick is getting physical access to the specific cable. As far as hacking this "Quantum Encryption," scheme, I wouldn't have a clue. I'm sure "timing" at photon speeds are involved.
you simply cannot splice fiber, not like you would copper anyways. If you get access to the cable it will be at a terminal and Im certain you didnt splice into the fiber. I know there are tools to splicing fiber together. I have done this. this requires a clean room very specific tools and skills that a typical hacker isn't going to have. Like I said though its a mute point since you cant split fiber like you would copper. One would have install a piece of hardware to do this. As someone has pointed out earlier it will be across oceans or just not in your means to get to that physical location.
Quantum entanglement would prove as a lot simpler/better of a hack-proof communication technique.
While it is very impractical to hack fiber it's not impossible. In fact you don't even have to break it to get at the photons. Many devices are on the market designed to measure light power levels without breaking the fiber. You merely need to bend the fiber enough to change the angle of incident, such as a macro/micro bend, and let some of the photons escape the cladding to be captured by your receiver. Just don't bend it so much you kill the signal at the far end and draw detection.
You can gain access to fibers all over the place from pedestals on the ground and vaults in the ground to enclosures on a pole miles from where anyone regularly looks. As has been pointed out, however, finding the correct fiber to tap along with all the other technical hurdles makes this impractical, but not impossible.
Like with all security; The biggest threat is from within.