Quantum Cryptography, a New Approach to Improve Security

As companies and governments around the world race to be the first to build a usable quantum computer, technology is catching up and promises to enhance the future of cybersecurity. In a recent CSO article by Maria Korolov and Doug Drinkwater, steps inside the quantum competition to meet the contributors.

Asymmetric encryption will be the first target of the quantum era. This encryption ecosystem includes emails, websites, financial transactions, and everything protected by asymmetric encryption. This two-key approach relies on the principal of a mathematical process. Researchers continue to look for ways to create new kinds of encryption algorithms that allow public and private keys but strive to be quantum-proof.

Quantum physics comes to the rescue with quantum key distribution (QKD), a method to send unhackable encryption keys. In this version of QKD, this land-based model uses photons one at a time through a fiber optic line. If a breach is made, the principles of quantum physics can reveal if anyone is eavesdropping.

With China furthest ahead with QKD, the United States has the first commercial QKD network established by Quantum Xchange.  Connecting New York City’s financial firms with data centers in New Jersey, Quantum Xchange uses QKD to secure messages on behalf of clients.  According to John Prisco, CEO, and president of Quantum Xchange, the technology is slow and requires expensive equipment to send and receive individual photons.  Prisco states, “It’s not too terribly different from other high-speed fiber optics communication equipment.” He went on to say,  “the price will come down over time as more companies provide the hardware.”

Read the full article: What is quantum cryptography? It’s no silver bullet but could improve security