Feeds

Quantum crypto targeted in attack of the clones

Holy Grail of security further tarnished

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.