As computers become more and more powerful and start to utilize quantum technology, today’s security measures, like encryption, will increasingly be at risk, according to reports.
That’s why Dutch bank ABN AMRO has partnered with quantum technology group Qutech to get ahead of the technology and use it to improve security for banks. The two parties are working to develop a technology called Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) to tackle security issues head-on, including those posed by quantum computers.
Qutech is a research group that aims to create and use quantum technology in a way that benefits society. The two companies already have plans to implement QKD in the near future.
“[A quantum] computer will render currently-used cryptosystems insecure, thereby invalidating all applications of information and communication technology (ICT) that rely on secure communications,” said Wolfgang Tittel, professor and experimental physicist at TU Delft.
New technologies like 5G wireless networks and quantum computers mean that information previously considered safe is increasingly vulnerable to attack. Because quantum computers can handle calculations at previously unheard-of speeds, things previously considered unbreakable, like encryption between a person and a bank account, are no longer foolproof.
Tittel said QKD is an excellent way to make sure information remains secure. “Quantum key distribution (QKD) promises secure digital communication, ultimately worldwide, that cannot be broken – not even by a quantum computer,” he said.
The technology uses a “quantum-distributed” key along with a lengthy message to create encrypted text that can’t be broken without the key. The “quantum-distributed” key would measure photons in a quantum event. This would mean that “…if somebody eavesdrops, including by employing a quantum hacking attack, the keys would not be identical anymore,” Tittel said, meaning it would disrupt the quantum event.
“Conversely, if they find that the two keys perfectly match (or the percentage of errors is so small that the knowledge of the eavesdropper can be removed), they conclude that the key is secure, and would use it safely for encryption,” he said.