Spy movies are exciting, filled with twists and turns. Real life sometimes mimics reel life, as the modern world can be stranger than fictional scenarios. With the advent of broadcast and network communication, such as electronic transactions, the Internet, the e-mail and cell phones, information is transmitted in real time.
Cryptography works with a sender scrambling the message sent. The encrypted message or cryptotext is transmitted, and the receiver recovers the message effectively decoding the transmission.
The original security of a cryptogram depends on the secrecy of encrypting and decrypting procedures. Cryptographic techniques have evolved over the centuries, with the code-makers working actively to stay ahead of the code-breakers.
The Quantum Fix
Secure communication is done by sending cryptotext. This can be done even over a public channel susceptible to passive eavesdropping, such as public announcements in mass media. This is also based on quantum entanglement, a condition in which two or more quantum particles such as photons where properties are correlated.
However, to establish the key, two users who may not be in contact or share secret information initially, will need to discuss it, using reliable and secure channels. Most classical systems can in principle be passively monitored, without legitimate users realizing that eavesdropping was in fact taking place.
Cryptographers have tried hard to solve the key distribution problem. Introduced in 1976, Public Key Cryptography (PKC) works with each user to randomly choose a pair of mutually inverse transformations: a scrambling and an unscrambling setup that publishes directions.
These systems exploit the fact that most mathematical operations are easier. The most popular one derives its security from the difficulty of factoring large numbers. The rise of quantum computing can disrupt current technical calculations as they have the ability to factorize huge integers in short times.
Quantum technology promises to revolutionize secure communication at an even more fundamental level. Classical cryptography depends on mathematical techniques. The quantum version depends more on the laws of physics.
Physics is gradually proving the tenets of esoteric philosophical doctrines. Traditional techniques were based on hand encoding and decoding. Modern methods use computers, and rely on extremely long keys, intractable algorithms, and problems that are hard to crack.
Sending a message using photons is fairly straightforward, since quantum priorities, including polarization can be used to represent a 0 or a 1. Photons carry one bit of quantum information, which physicists call a qubit.
To receive a qubit, the recipient must determine the photon’s polarization, for example passing it through a filter, a measurement that inevitably alters properties.
In the quantum method, the problem of key distribution is solved. Users send a series of photons with random polarizations. This is then used to generate a sequence of numbers. The process is known as quantum key distribution.
Secure Communications: The Future
This method is fundamentally secure as a single photon carries different qubits. Quantum techniques provide no protection against classical infringements (man-in-the middle) attacks. There is no protection for somebody intercepting messages.
There is still debate on whether this is really the future of secure communication. The disadvantages of Secured Quantum Cryptography Algorithm is the decoherence problem quantum mechanics faces. Random attacks are nearly impossible, and brute-force techniques may take years.
Although quantum computing was considered farcical for many years, recent years have seen more advances. The first commercial system was launched in 2011, as D-Wave One. According to the firm, it uses a 128 qubit processor chipset.
Increasingly, the world relies on e-commerce, online banking, and the web for just about everything.Despite flaws in the current methodology, there is scope for quantum cryptography integrating into the mainstream solution stack.