The risk of illegal information access, notably in money transactions, requires more and more advanced cryptographic techniques against criminals and the occasional mischevious teenager.
Quantum cryptography has been regarded as 100-percent protection against attacks on sensitive data traffic but a research team at Linköping University in Sweden has found a hole in even this advanced technology.
When an encrypted message needs to be sent over a computer network, the most difficult problem is how the key should be transmitted. One way is to literally send it by courier (which has its own security risks) or, if it's in your budget, attached to the wrist of James Bond. But the most common way is a "public key," like https:// for online banking and security functions in Web browsers.
A public key is regarded as secure, since enormous calculations are required to break the long strings of data bits - some 2,000 - that make up the key.
Quantum cryptography is considered absolutely secure but very few people use it. It requires special hardware, such as a type of laser that emits polarized light particles (photons) via optic fiber or through the air and some companies and banks in Austria are testing such a system, and trials are even underway with satellite-TV transmission.
In quantum cryptography, security is guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics. Quantum-mechanical objects have the peculiar property that they cannot be measured or manipulated without being disturbed. If somebody tries to copy a quantum-cryptographic key in transit, it will make extra 'noise.' An eavesdropper can cause problems, but not extract usable information.
Jan-Åke Larsson, associate professor of applied mathematics at Linköping University, working with his student Jörgen Cederlöf, has shown that not even quantum cryptography is 100-percent secure. There is a theoretical possibility that an unauthorized person can extract the key without being discovered, by simultaneously manipulating both the quantum-mechanical and the regular communication needed in quantum cryptography.
"The concern involves authentication, intended to secure that the message arriving is the same as the one that was sent. We have scrutinized the system as a whole and found that authentication does not work as intended. The security of the current technology is not sufficient," says Jan-Åke Larsson.
In the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory article, the authors propose a change that solves the problem.
"We weren't expecting to find a problem in quantum cryptography, of course, but it is a really complicated system. With our alteration, quantum cryptography will be a secure technology," says Jan-Åke Larsson.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- On Sexuality, You Weren't Born That Way, Says Paper
- Bubble-wrapped Sponge Creates Steam Using Sunlight
- Anomaly!: Book News And A Clip
- Reframing Body Weight As Baby Weight May Help Women Handle Pregnancy
- Petition: Let's End Dramatized Reporting Of "Doomsday" Stories - The Vulnerable Get Suicidal
- Post-Doctoral Positions In Experimental Physics For Foreigners
- Stem Cell Therapy Heals Injured Mouse Brain
- "i've often wondered https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_sink ..."
- "Dylan, yes back online now. The Sun, and Moon are visible in all those places, of course, so if..."
- "Tina, I think it's best to try to understand the constellation argument because then you can just..."
- "People worry about a system entering ours and spelling doomsday for us all, however I believe if..."
- " I appreciate your hard work and look forward to any future publications with great interest, thank..."
- If Facebook Is Guessing Your Politics, You’re Probably Safe From Being Pigeon-Holed
- Pregnancy-Related Deaths Rising, But Why?
- Fauci: Don’t Make Policy Based on Animal Studies
- Exercise Could Save Your Liver
- Precision Medicine Stands On Imprecise Infrastructure
- Standing with Giants: A Collection of Public Health Essays in Memoriam to Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan
- New small molecule compounds could treat Ebola virus infection
- Heroic firefighter who underwent most extensive face transplant is thriving
- Progress in vaccination against vespid venom
- Molecular signature shows plants are adapting to increasing atmospheric CO2
- Modelling water uptake in wood opens up new design framework