Stirring revelations about NSA code-breaking operations have revealed just how insecure our data is. Now Toshiba labs has announced a breakthrough quantum cryptography method that may lead to widespread use of unbreakable codes.
Cryptographers believe in the fidelity of quantum cryptography due to the nature of quantum mechanics itself. The laws of physics dictate that no quantum system can be observed without its original state being disrupted.
That means that no one, not even the NSA, can look into a quantum-encrypted system without immediately garbling the information within.
According to Andrew Shields, head of the quantum information group at Toshiba research Europe, “This kind of communication cannot be defeated by future advances in computing power, nor new mathematical algorithms, nor fancy new engineering”. Shields continued, “As long as the laws of physics hold true, it will ensure that your communications are fully secured.”
To create their new quantum cryptography method, Toshiba engineers used specially polarized photons to create an encryption key that can unlock a specific digital file.
Once the code is established the photons are sent to their destination where they are counted and the key is delivered to its recipient. If any attempt is made to intercept the coded file, the recipient would be able to tell because the encoded data would be scrambled.
Now that Toshiba engineers have demonstrated that their quantum cryptography method works, their research now turns to bringing down the cost of quantum cryptography systems.
Current quantum cryptography systems cost around $50,000 and can only connect two parties at a time. If steps can be taken to reduce cost and expand secure networks, companies who store our data might find a competitive edge by protecting their user’s data inside the enigmas of quantum mechanics.