Scientists advance unbreakable code technology

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

beam splitter image
Quantum cryptography networks use laser beams to protect information.

Usually, cryptography – the science of securing messages through codes – uses complex mathematics to protect sensitive information. However, there is always a chance that a person or computer will crack the code and uncover top secret information. Shoot, just this month, The Guardian leaked information that the National Security Agency (NSA) can easily crack the most sophisticated of codes!

Unlike traditional cryptography though, quantum cryptography uses physics to protect information, more specifically through tiny particles of light – called photons – from laser beams. If someone tries to tap into the signal, it can be instantly detected and taken care of. There is one small problem with quantum cryptography, though: it only works between two computers that are really close to each other! In addition, current quantum cryptography systems can cost up to $5,000. No point in sending a secret message to someone in the same room when you can just stand up and deliver the message for much cheaper, huh?

Well, that’s where breakthrough information from the Toshiba research lab comes in. They have figured out a way to connect more than 60 computers in an uncrackable network! According to Andrew Shields, head of the quantum information group at Toshiba research Europe, “This kind of communication cannot be defeated by future advances in computing power, nor new mathematical algorithms, nor fancy new engineering.” He explained, “As long as the laws of physics hold true, it will ensure that your communications are fully secured.”

An unhackable network of computers, huh? I bet the NSA won’t be too happy to hear that.

Featured image courtesy of Ryan Dearth on Wikimedia.