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Quantum cryptography, that's magiQ

Uncrackable encryption system for commercial use

USA-based quantum information processing company MagiQ Technologies has created an uncrackable encryption system, which turns the benefits of quantum physics into a commercial reality.

Quantum cryptography systems use photons (particles of light) to transfer data between machines. MagiQ has designed a system that emits a single photon at a time, making it literally impossible for a hacker to break in without interrupting the photons, thereby alerting the user to their presence.

"Quantum encryption is the key to safe systems, at the moment it is one of the very few technologies that can guarantee our data is safe from prying eyes," said a spokesman at the Centre for Quantum Computation.

Toshiba's research labs achieved this back in
December of last year and although other researchers and universities have been developing the technology, as yet it has not been made available for commercial purposes.

MagiQ's system uses a fibre-optic link which updates its encryption key, encoded as quantum bits, every second. Its so-called Navaho communication link consists of two black boxes connected by a 30km optic link that implements the BB84 quantum encryption code.

"Today we are limited to 30km [18.6 miles], but we think that with just some engineering improvements we can reach 50 to 60km [31 to 37.2 miles]," Alexei Trifonov, vice president of research and developed at Magic, told the EE Times.

Unlike other encryption methods that depend on an encryption key which is too large to be cracked by normal computer power, BB84 offers a secret key distribution method, which is changed every second, and therefore can never be hacked no matter how much processing power an eavesdropper may have.

The company has received financial backing from several companies and individuals including Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos. The company expects to release its beta units at the beginning of next year.


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