With the rise in both the amount and complexity of cyber threats, cyber security has not only become the main concern for many enterprises but also the main study of scientists, which might have developed a new system with high-speed encryption properties that drive quantum computers in order to create a theoretically hack-proof data encryption.
According to researchers at Duke University, Ohio State University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, this was done by solving one of the biggest problems in quantum encryption, the quantum key distribution. The quantum key distribution is the process of distributing keys during transmissions.
While most current quantum key distribution systems transmit data with tens to hundreds of kilobytes per second, which is not enough for most uses, the newly developed quantum key distribution uses a frequency-stabilized continuous laser to transmit multiple bits at once. By adjusting the release time and the phase, researchers managed to inject more information into each photon and encode two bits. This means it is possible to transmit keys more quickly and securely as well as use fast fiber optic cables.
“We are now likely to have a functioning quantum computer that might be able to start breaking the existing cryptographic codes in the near future,” said Daniel Gauthier, a professor of physics at The Ohio State University. “We really need to be thinking hard now of different techniques that we could use for trying to secure the internet.”
“It was changing these additional properties of the photon that allowed us to almost double the secure key rate that we were able to obtain if we hadn’t done that,” Gauthier added.
More importantly, the new quantum key distribution system mostly uses equipment that is widely available to telecommunications providers.
“All of this equipment, apart from the single-photon detectors, exist in the telecommunications industry, and with some engineering, we could probably fit the entire transmitter and receiver in a box as big as a computer CPU,” said Duke graduate student Nurul Taimur Islam.
The full research article titled “Provably secure and high-rate quantum key distribution with time-bin qudits” and written by Nurul T. Islam, Charles Ci Wen Lim, Clinton Cahall, Jungsang Kim, and Daniel J. Gauthier is available for download over at Science Advances website.