Feeds

Quantum crypto targeted in attack of the clones

Holy Grail of security further tarnished

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Japanese researchers have put another dent in Quantum cryptograpy's reputation as the final word in secure communications.

Transmissions sent using the technique are protected from eavesdroppers by the fundamental rules of quantum physics, at least in theory.

In practice, implementation weaknesses can leave a narrow door for attackers, and Japanese boffins have developed an idea for a quantum eavesdropping device that can exploit one such weakness.

Quantum cryptography is designed to allow users to exchange secret keys. The polarisation of individual light photons determines one bit of a key. The rules of quantum mechanics mean that any attempt to intercept this data irreversibly alters it.

Because of this effect, any attempt to eavesdrop a key would be detected as a unacceptably noisy communications path.

The loophole exploited by Japanese boffins is that it might be possible to make a partial copy of a quantum key without tripping an alert that a communications path has been compromised. This partial copy might be used in subsequent cryptoanalysis. The technique relies on constructing an optical cloning circuit and a measuring device, as explained in a paper by the researchers here (pdf).

Boffins led by Yuta Okubo at the University of Tskuba in Japan have not yet built a device that implements the approach. Nonetheless the research is a concern for banks and government agencies that bought quantum cryptography systems in the belief they were inherently secure.

The Japanese research follows an earlier study by boffins in Sweden examining another practical shortcoming with quantum cryptography systems. As previously reported, the weakness identified by the Swedish team involved shortcomings in how systems verify that the content of a message has not been altered in transit. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.