Feeds

Uncrackable quantum crypto undermined by new attack

Bell test blinded by lasers

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Hopes of building an uncrackable cryptographic system using quantum mechanics have been called into question, after scientists devised a way to cheat a test used to detect secret keys that have been intercepted.

By blinding detectors with laser beams, the scientists were able to defeat what's known as the Bell test. In theory, the test is supposed to show when a quantum encryption key shared between two parties has been intercepted by an eavesdropper. In principle, it's impossible for a third party to tamper with it without disturbing its entanglement, a property that's measured by the Bell test.

“There have been some strong statements about quantum cryptography being robust against any attack,” an article in Nature quotes Christian Kurtsiefer, an expert of quantum optics at the Center for Quantum Technologies of the National University of Singapore, as saying. “But it isn't that simple.”

The attack works by shining a laser beam at a detector used by one of the parties sharing the key and intercepting some of its photons. The laser temporarily blinds the detector, allowing the attacker to register faked correlations. In theory, the Bell test should be able to recognize the counterfeit readings, but the difficulty of getting the test to work in practical settings requires scientists to discount a certain number of mismatches in the test results.

The findings appear in Physical Review Letters. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
US government fines Intel's Wind River over crypto exports
New emphasis on encryption as a weapon?
To Russia With Love: Snowden's pole-dancer girlfriend is living with him in Moscow
While the NSA is tapping your PC, he's tapping ... nevermind
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Put down that shotgun: Wi-Fi's the way to beat Zombies
CreepyDOL sensors can pick walkers from humans with MAC snack attack
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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.
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?
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.