A system that allows electronic messages to be sent with complete secrecy could be on the verge of expansion with networks able to implement quantum cryptography.
A team of British scientists has discovered a way to build communications networks with quantum cryptography at a larger scale than ever before giving the possibility for quantum cryptography to expand into larger networks giving the potential to transform the way sensitive data is protected over networks.
The system is based on a communication system, where information is carried by individual photons - single particles of light. Once these single photons of light are observed, they change. That is, they cannot be intercepted by an "eavesdropper" without leaving a detectable trace.
Until now, implementing a quantum cryptography network had required a new fibre and an elaborate photon detector for each additional user that was added to the network, bringing a high expense. The team says they have now extended the way to send uncrackable codes - referred to as "quantum key distribution" (QKD) onto larger complex networks with multiple users.
The network works on standard fibres that allows information from multiple users to be combined and transmitted on a single fibre allowing multiple users to share a single fibre link and detector - the team tested a network with upto 64 users.
Encoding information on individual photons of light has the "unique virtue that it allows the secrecy of the communication to be tested", said Dr Shields.
Potentially in the future we can see networks capable of ensuring complete secrecy of your confidential information, bank details, etc. Although it is open to debate if quantum networks are susceptible to 'middleman' attacks - only time can tell. What are your thoughts on quantum cryptography?