An Uncrackable Lock

A quantum cryptographic chip using light particles to encrypt data during electronic transfer could throw off hackers for good

So Long, Hackers
An unhackable chip could make breaches a thing of the past.iStockphoto

Imagine an encrypted data chip so secure that even the greatest hackers in history would find impossible to crack. That chip is very much a reality thanks to the combined efforts of Siemens, Austrian Research Centers (ARC) and Graz University of Technology who have teamed up to create the first quantum cryptology chip for commercial use to ensure securer electronic communication.

The lock protects data using a random sequence of numbers from light particles. At the moment, data is protected using a key distribution system based on mathematical algorithms. But, with enough time and effort, those algorithms can be cracked. The quantum cryptographic light lock, on the other hand, takes advantage of the laws of nature by using photons—individual light particles—to create completely random codes through an optical array. When these codes are transferred to the receiving end through fiber-optic cables, it waits till it is verified through communication partners before creating a fail-safe key. The chip has also been designed in such a way that it can detect anyone trying to tap into the information while its generating a key and if it does register someone, the photons are changed or destroyed and the entire process is repeated until its sure nobody is listening. It sounds almost like magic, but the developers expect the technology to be in serious use two years from now.