A New Quantum Encryption Breakthrough Could Lead to Hacker-Proof Communication



The previous secure quantum communications record was smashed by more than nearly 50 miles 


According to The Eurasian Times, scientists from Beijing have set a new world record for quantum secure direct communication (QSDC) of 102.2 km (64 miles), a huge improvement over the previous record of 18 km (11 miles). 


Because of the nature of the technology, the discovery could someday lead to a huge quantum communications network that is virtually hacker-proof. 


The researchers reported transmission speeds of 0.54 bits per second in an article published in Nature, which is significantly slower than communications using traditional computing devices. Even so, it was fast enough to encrypt phone calls and text messages over a 30-kilometer distance (19 miles). 


The previous record was set by the same team, and they developed a "novel design of physical system with a new protocol" to break it and greatly improve on their previous design by removing the "complicated active compensation subsystem," allowing for "ultra-low quantum bit error rate (QBER) and long-term stability against environmental noises." 


The researchers claim that their experiment demonstrates that "intercity quantum secure direct communication across the fibre is doable with current technology." They believe that quantum channels might be used to replace elements of today's internet, preventing hackers from listening in on their conversations. 


Developing a hacker-proof communications network 


To safeguard communications networks, QSDC employs a quantum physics quirk known as entanglement. Entangled particles are irrevocably linked, which means that changing one's attribute changes the other's as well. This means that any effort at hacking will be recognized right away. 


In February, a team of scientists from the Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago achieved a new record in quantum research by maintaining a quantum state for more than five seconds. Their study, they believe, will enable more intricate quantum calculations and, eventually, a "distributed quantum internet." 


We're still a long way from seeing quantum computers deliver on their promise in a commercial context, but quantum internet infrastructure is getting closer to reality. It's a development that has the potential to transform the way businesses and individuals communicate online, allowing them to do so with far more security than previously. 


Reference: Journal Nature 

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