Feeds

Quantum crypto nearly ready to go mobile

Boffins demo 'QKD for smartphones'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

While the world is still waiting for a full-blown quantum communications setup, quantum key distribution – QKD – is already a contested product market. Now, an international collaboration has shown that QKD can be brought to the smartphone.

The project, carried out by the University of Bristol, Cambridge, Griffith University in Queensland and , Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, has published a paper on Arxiv outlining its work.

The researchers have, essentially, split the QKD problem into a client-server architecture, allowing most of the “heavy lifting” to be carried out server-side so that a resource-constrained client like a smartphone. It wouldn't work on any of today's smartphones, since there's still one somewhat exotic component needed at the client end, an on-chip polarisation rotator.

And the client device wouldn't be able to use QKD over the air, since it would need to tether to a fibre to receive the quanta from the far end.

Whereas most QKD kit on the market today has quantum optics equipment at both ends, the scheme proposed in the Arxiv paper would do most of the quantum work at one end only. “Alice” creates the photons and sends them down the fibre to “Bob”, who only needs the capability to change the photons' polarisation and send them back.

The protocol devised to make this work is called rfiQKD, “reference frame independent quantum key distribution”, and it works without needing to align Alice and Bob's equipment. As it's described at MIT's Arxiv Blog:

“Instead Alice and Bob make measurements in random directions and then publish the list of directions for anyone to see. Only those measurements that happened to be aligned contribute to the code.”

As the researchers note in their paper, “the results significantly broaden the operating potential for QKD outside of the laboratory and pave the way for quantum enhanced security for the general public with handheld mobile devices.”

And before readers poke fun at the idea of a smartphone containing quantum polarisers on-board, think of this: how many of us carried around accelerometers ten years ago? ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
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.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.