Feeds

Quantum crypto nearly ready to go mobile

Boffins demo 'QKD for smartphones'

High performance access to file storage

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? ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.