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 Hackers soon to hit their last frontier.
Computers David Smith, technology correspondent

Sunday December 19, 2004

The Observer

Anyone who sends an email or bids on eBay with a niggling fear about privacy may soon be able to relax. Programmers have made a major breakthrough in their quest for a totally secure computer network by turning to Star Trek-style physics that would bamboozle the sharpest hacker.

Information Source the Guardian.

Guardian Unlimited Quantum cryptography is the ultimate example of small-is-beautiful technology: information is encoded at the subatomic level on individual photons, the smallest known units of light. They can then be sent on optical fibre networks from one computer to another. To snoop on such messages undetected, a hacker would have to defy the laws of quantum mechanics.

'Any attempt by the hacker to read the message causes errors that show up. This results from a proven law of nature,' said Dr Andrew Shields, leader of Toshiba Research Europe's quantum information group.

Previous experiments with quantum cryptography foundered because photons are so sensitive to fluctuations in the hardware that the tiniest change in temperature or movement of the fibre wrecked the process.

But Toshiba Research Europe in Cambridge has devised a system that prevents fluctuations and keeps light particles flowing precisely. A recent trial sent information automatically and uninterruptedly for nearly a week.

Toshiba predicts the technology will become commercial within three years, and is looking to begin further trials with financial organisations. Shields said: 'It means quantum cryptography can be used by anyone. The first users are likely to be in the financial and public service sectors. It might take a while before it is used by your home PC.'

Quantum cryptography encodes each photon to represent a standard bit, 0 or 1, and these in combination form a secret key. In today's typical optical communication system, each bit is carried by a million photons, and an eavesdropper could split off some photons and determine the information they were carrying without being detected. But with the quantum technique the theft of a single photon is immediately apparent to the sender and receiver of the message.

Information Source the Guardian.

Guardian Unlimited

Will remove on request, Promission Pending.
Posted by Z Tuesday, March 31, 2009 (20:37:21)
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