Use Photons for data security

Digital world is facing ransomware threat to such an extent that no password or network in the world looks safe to IT admins. Security firms like Kaspersky are recommending users to go for a password which begins with a capital letter and has a mix-up of alpha-numeric characters, along with a special character. The researchers at the said security firm believe that this letter and number combination of password will surely give a tough time to hackers, who otherwise break into any network with simple permutation and combinations.

Quantum key distribution(QKD) has been around for a while and was first proposed in 1984 by Charles Bennett and Gilles Brassard in an attempt to establish a security guarantee that holds against unlimited computational power, both classical and quantum mechanical.

Thus, with the help of QKD, a secure link would be established only after the parties exchange photons. The whole magic behind this photon based password lies solely in the law of quantum mechanics which states that a quantum object cannot be measured without causing a disruption. In this process, scientists have decided a way of generating single photon, as carrier of quantum of information in security systems. In this way, the team resolved the key issue holding back the development of password exchange which can only be broken by violating the laws of physics.

In secure data transfer, photons sent over fiber optic networks can be encrypted through entanglement. With each dimension of entanglement, the amount of info carried on photon pair is doubles, so a photon pair entangled by five dimensions can carry 32 times as much data as a pair entangled by only one. The result greatly extends from wavelength multiplexing, the method for carrying many videos over a single optical fiber.

Means, once the secure QKD link is established, eavesdropping is not that easy to break and if possible, can easily be identified and the breached data can be removed. Though, the whole process was very much difficult in 1984, it has vastly improved in recent times.

In May 2016, researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, believe to have achieved QKD. The researchers found out a way to get around the mathematical challenge of calculating the allowed length of the final secret key and determining the observed disturbance for any protocol, they changed the mathematical key rate calculation to the dual optimization problem. The end result was that the length of time to perform the calculation was reduced from months to seconds.

The scientists from the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have issued white paper on this issue in Nature Communications.

The researchers have also declared that the photon based data security will be ready to protect computing devices and the data stored on them within next couple of years.


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