Feeds

Quantum crypto secrets from Japan

Data sent along 200m of optical fibre at 1 kbps

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Mitsubishi and Hokkaido University have completed a latest round of experiments in quantum cryptography over optical fibres. The two organisations say that their quantum cryptographic system is a success, and could have important implications for optical fibre networks already in use.

The data was sent along 200 meters of optical fibre at a rate of one kbps. Not exactly fast, but there we go. The researchers reported a quantum bit rate error of one percent, which was kept low by the ability of the system to compensate for fluctuations in the phase and polarisation of the light.

Quantum cryptography was first demonstrated in the US in 1989. It exploits the bizarreness of the quantum world, specifically the way a quantum system responds to observation.

Two parties wish to share a key that they can used to encrypt messages sent between them. To establish this key, the first party encodes information in the quantum states of individual optical photons and transmits them to the second party.

The receiver sorts the incoming photons according to their states and sends them to sensitive photo-detectors.

Because of the quantum nature of light, any potential eavesdroppers disrupt the system, changing the nature of the transmission so that it becomes meaningless, simultaneously alerting both parties to the eavesdroppers' presence.

Early experiments in the field involved transmission of a message across a short distance in a vacuum. This is one of few successful experiments using optical fibre as the transmission medium, and researchers are claiming that it is the first such experiment to be conducted in Japan.

Quantum cryptography is an important area of research because its security is not dependent of massively complex algorithms that could be foiled by a sufficiently powerful computer or a sustained attack. Because it is based on fundamental physical properties of the world, it is essentially uncrackable.

Sounds fairly groovy to us. ®

Related Stories

Boffins unveil world's most powerful quantum computer
Boffins predict uncrackable quantum data tech

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.