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Scientists develop high-speed encryption to secure future internet
The novel system is capable of creating and distributing encryption codes at megabit-per-second rates, which is five to 10 times faster than existing methods.
If you look at today's digital world, we live in an increasingly networked space. From communicating via email and instant message to ordering food, traveling, banking and shopping, nearly every aspect of our life revolves around the cyber world.
However, with the Internet being widely used there are increased risks as cybercriminals are continually looking for ways to get around basic safety measures. Thus protecting vital information in the cyber world has become a necessity.
Having said that, in a bid to fight against the future cyber threats, scientists have developed a new system with high-speed encryption properties that drive quantum computers to create theoretically hack-proof forms of data encryption. The novel system is capable of creating and distributing encryption codes at megabit-per-second rates, which is five to 10 times faster than existing methods and on par with current internet speeds when running several systems in parallel.
The technique is secure from common attacks, even in the face of equipment flaws that could open up leaks. "We are now likely to have a functioning quantum computer that might be able to start breaking the existing cryptographic codes in the near future," said Daniel Gauthier, Professor at The Ohio State University.
"We really need to be thinking hard now about different techniques that we could use for trying to secure the internet," Gauthier added, in the paper appearing in the journal Science Advances. For the new system to work, both the hacker as well as the sender must have access to the same key, and it must be kept secret.
The novel system uses a weakened laser to encode information or transmit keys on individual photons of light, but also packs more information onto each photon, making the technique faster. By adjusting the time at which the photon is released, and a property of the photon called the phase, the new system can encode two bits of information per photon instead of one.
This trick, paired with high-speed detectors powers the system to transmit keys five to 10 times faster than other methods. "It was changing these additional properties of the photon that allowed us to almost double the secure key rate that we were able to obtain if we hadn't done that," Gauthier said.