Scientists ‘hack’ quantum cryptography

Computer Scientists from Norway have perfected a method of attacking quantum cryptography systems using lasers allowing them to listen to communications while being completely undetected.

Quantum cryptography is most commonly used to securely transfer keys and was considered to be un-hackable, as any attempt to attack the system and measure quantum data will disturb it. The system then detects this, ensuring the communications remain secure.

The team of scientists from three academic institutions in Norway developed a technique that remotely controls the photon detector. In effect, the use of the laser blinds the photon detector. Using a stronger pulse of lasers, data can then be transmitted without detection as the pulse is not a quantum process.

A report, published by the scientists, explains how, theoretically, anyone could implement the attack by using ‘off-the-shelf’ components.

Various quantum cryptography developers have been made aware of the vulnerability and ID Quantique have corroborated with the researchers to make an undisclosed countermeasure.

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About M Isbell

News Editor at DFM