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Beneath many cities are complex networks of optical fibres that carry data, encoded in pulses of light, to offices and homes. Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singtel, Asia's leading communications technology group, have demonstrated a technique that will help pairs of light particles smoothly navigate these networks, a breakthrough that will enable stronger cyber security. The demonstration was performed over 10 km of Singtel's fibre network. This project, conducted in Singapore, is driven by the NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Research & Development Laboratory, a public-private partnership supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister's Office, Singapore. It relies on the expertise from the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at NUS.
This new approach supports the deployment of a technology known as quantum key distribution (QKD). Transmitted over fibre networks, it uses signals sent in particles of light known as photons. Detection of individual photons creates encryption keys for secure communication. Data encrypted with such keys is resistant to all computational hacks.
Trials - Worldwide - Governments - Companies - Need
QKD trials are being conducted worldwide as governments and companies recognise the need to strengthen their cyber security. The QKD trials carried out by the NUS-Singtel team use pairs of photons that are connected by the quantum property of entanglement. Most QKD schemes require that the sender and receiver of a secret message exchange photons directly or trust the source of their keys. With this alternative approach, it is possible to check the security of a key provided by a third party supplier.
It works like this: the supplier would create a pair of photons, then split them up, sending one each to the two parties that want to communicate securely. The entanglement means that when the parties measure their photons, they get matching results, either a 0 or 1. Doing this for many photons leaves each party...
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