Friday, August 12, 2016

Quantum cryptographic communication

The word "quantum" gets attached to multiple, very different technologies related to cryptography leading to confusion. The main two to date are the quantum computer (which has the capability to crack the asymmetric cryptography that underpins the internet) and quantum key distribution (which uses quantum characteristics of photons to securely distribute a symmetric, cryptographic key over an optical fiber).  Now we have a third: quantum, cryptographically-secured communication.  Rather than simply sharing a key as in quantum key distribution, here an entangled photon is used a the key so an eavesdropper intercepting the key will disturb the key rendering the communication indecipherable to everyone, especially the eavesdropper. It is not an existing technology, but the target of recent NSF funding: 

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