Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Quantum 'sealed envelope' system enables 'perfectly secure' information storage

Date:
November 4, 2013
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Breakthrough guarantees "unconditional" security of information by harnessing quantum theory and relativity, and has been successfully demonstrated on a global scale for the first time.

A breakthrough in quantum cryptography demonstrates that information can be encrypted and then decrypted with complete security using the combined power of quantum theory and relativity -- allowing the sender to dictate the unveiling of coded information without any possibility of intrusion or manipulation.

Related Articles


Scientists sent encrypted data between pairs of sites in Geneva and Singapore, kept "perfectly secure" for fifteen milliseconds -- putting into practice what cryptographers call a 'bit commitment' protocol, based on theoretical work by study co-author Dr Adrian Kent, from Cambridge's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

Researchers describe it as the first step towards impregnable information networks controlled by "the combined power of Einstein's relativity and quantum theory" which might one day, for example, revolutionise financial trading and other markets across the world.

'Bit commitment' is a mathematical version of a securely sealed envelope. Data are delivered from party A to party B in a locked state that cannot be changed once sent and can only be revealed when party A provides the key -- with security guaranteed, even if either of the parties tries to cheat.

The technique could one day be used for everything from global financial trading to secure voting and even long-distance gambling, although researchers point out that this is the "very first step into new territory."

This is a significant breakthrough in the world of 'quantum cryptography' -- one that was once believed to be impossible. The results are published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

"This is the first time perfectly secure bit commitment -- relying on the laws of physics and nothing else -- has been demonstrated," said Adrian Kent.

"It is immensely satisfying to see these theoretical ideas at last made practical thanks to the ingenuity of all the theorists and experimenters in this collaboration."

Any signal between Geneva and Singapore takes at least fifteen milliseconds -- with a millisecond equal to a thousandth of a second. This blink-of-an-eye is long enough with current technology to allow data to be handed over encrypted at both sites, and later decrypted -- with security "unconditionally guaranteed" by the laws of physics, say the team.

The researchers have exploited two different areas of physics: Einstein's special relativity -- which interprets uniform motion between two objects moving at relative speeds -- combined with the power of quantum theory, the new physics of the subatomic world that Einstein famously dismissed as "spooky."

Completely secure 'bit commitment' using quantum theory alone is known to be impossible, say researchers, and the "extra control" provided by relativity is crucial.

Professor Gilles Brassard FRS of the Universit'e de Montr'eal, one of the co-inventors of quantum cryptography who was not involved in this study, spoke of the "vision" he had fifteen years ago -- when trying to combine quantum 'bit commitment' with relativity to "save" the theory -- in which Einstein and early quantum physicist Niels Bohr "rise from their graves and shake hands at last":

"Alas, my idea at the time was flawed. I am so thrilled to see this dream finally come true, not only in theory but also as a beautiful experiment!" he said.

Bit commitment is a building block -- what researchers call a "primitive" -- that can be put together in lots of ways to achieve increasingly complex tasks, they say. "I see this as the first step towards a global network of information controlled by the combined power of relativity and quantum theory," Kent said.

One possible future use of relativistic quantum cryptography could be global stock markets and other trading networks. It might be a way of leveling the technological 'arms race' in which traders acquire and exploit information as fast as possible, the team suggest, although they stress at such an early stage these suggestions are speculative.

The new study builds on previous experiments that, while successful, had to assume limitations in the technology of one or both parties -- and consequently not entirely "safe or satisfactory" says Kent, "since you never really know what technology is out there."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Lunghi, J. Kaniewski, F. Bussiθres, R. Houlmann, M. Tomamichel, A. Kent, N. Gisin, S. Wehner, H. Zbinden. Experimental Bit Commitment Based on Quantum Communication and Special Relativity. Physical Review Letters, 2013; 111 (18) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.180504

Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "Quantum 'sealed envelope' system enables 'perfectly secure' information storage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104101248.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2013, November 4). Quantum 'sealed envelope' system enables 'perfectly secure' information storage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104101248.htm
University of Cambridge. "Quantum 'sealed envelope' system enables 'perfectly secure' information storage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104101248.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Google's new e-mail app is meant for greater personalization and allows users to better categorize their mail, but Gmail isn't going away just yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins