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Australian Gov't May Employ a Homegrown Quantum Key System

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the lasers-spin-counterclockwise-there dept.

Security 141

mask.of.sanity writes "The Australian government is trialling a new Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system built by Aussie scientists. QKD is considered the world's toughest security because the slightest attempt to intercept the one time keys, coded into lasers at the quantum level, will disrupt the beam. The technology differs from current cryptography tech primarily because it's cheap. Well, less than the $US100k price tag of rival systems. It uses off-the-shelf networking gear instead of proprietary technology, and is built on open standards, so it's easier to install. The random key is encoded at the quantum level in the sidebeam in the phase and amplitude, or brightness and colour, of a highly tuned laser beam. The creators, who built the system in part for their Ph.Ds, said it can be used to transport the most sensitive data like critical infrastructure and secret commercial IP. The days of hand-delivered security keys are numbered."

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Quantum Leap (2, Funny)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085837)

So... you could say the Aussie scientists have taken a Quantum Leap in cryptography for the AU?

*rimshot*

Thank you, I'll be here all night! Remember to tip your waitress!

Re:Quantum Leap (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086087)

I hear that the technology is called "Key Order Assignment by Laser Application".

Re:Quantum Leap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086793)

I see what you did there.

Re:Quantum Leap (5, Funny)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088195)

Some puns are just unbearable. Tim S

Re:Quantum Leap (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086593)

Instead of using the Qantas the airline they could use Quantas to teleport stuff.

Also remember to try the veal.

Re:Quantum Leap (5, Funny)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086797)

No, from what I understand the system involves strapping a key to a shark who'll swim it to the recipient. The friggin' laser shoots anyone trying to intercept it, thereby guaranteeing security.

Sharks with friggin laser beams have become more adundant as of late, which is why they can do this so cheaply.

Re:Quantum Leap (1)

Slumdog (1460213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087779)

Instead of using the Qantas the airline they could use Quantas to teleport stuff.

Definitely...definitely Quantas.

Re:Quantum Leap (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086825)

Oh boy!

Re:Quantum Leap (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087651)

We don't tip in australia. We pay our waitresses enough in base wages.

Re:Quantum Leap (4, Interesting)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088223)

Quantum leap: (adj.) literally, to move by the smallest amount theoretically possible. In advertising, to move by the largest leap imaginable (in the mind of the advertiser). There is no contradiction.

- Tonkin's First Computer Dictionary

All I want to know is... (0)

G33kDragon (699950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085839)

...can I encrypt messages with freakin' laser beams attached to the freakin' heads of the freakin' sharks? >

Re:All I want to know is... (2, Insightful)

Slumdog (1460213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086795)

...can I encrypt messages with freakin' laser beams attached to the freakin' heads of the freakin' sharks? >

"Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code." -- Dave Olson

Re:All I want to know is... (4, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087271)

Yes, but like any quantum cryptography method, it's still vulnerable to a SITM (Shark In The Middle) attack.

Quoth Schrodinger (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27085849)

The days of hand-delivered security keys are numbered

...but we can't tell you exactly how long you'll have to wait.

Re:Quoth Schrodinger (1)

Slumdog (1460213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086585)

The days of hand-delivered security keys are numbered

...but we can't tell you exactly how long you'll have to wait.

We don't know if we can or cannot tell you, or even whether you or someone else will have to wait

What If... (0)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085871)

QKD is considered the world's toughest security because the slightest attempt to intercept the one time keys, coded into lasers at the quantum level, will disrupt the beam.

What if you cross the beams?

Re:What If... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086433)

QKD is considered the world's toughest security because the slightest attempt to intercept the one time keys, coded into lasers at the quantum level, will disrupt the beam.

What if you cross the beams?

Don't!

the randomly generated password is always FOUR (0)

DotDotSlashDot (1207864) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085883)

or FOUR xor FOUR
highly tuned?

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27085899)

It could be broken with an inverted tachyon beam through a phased modulator.

Quantum crypto (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27085903)

Disclaimer: I am a quantum cryptography research scientist. I have a story about what happened with a fellow colleague and I a few days ago.

This incident occurred one day when we were driving along a little-traveled highway a few miles from our homes. After we stopped at a rest area, A man with a huge stud nigger on a leash got out of a car. He took the nigger to a nearby tree and tied the nigger to it. We asked the man what he was doing to the poor nigger. He explained that he and his family were moving out of state and they couldn't take the nigger with them. Since none of his friends could take the nigger, he was going to leave it here in hopes that someone would give it a home.

As my colleague walked over to the nigger and petted his stomach, her hand accidentally touched his genital area. The nigger suddenly stopped chimping out and began panting plaintively. I smiled at her. I thought she would let it go, but then she rubbed her hand along his penis sheath. I was shocked when his large black dick started to emerge from its hiding place. He again started making a noise, but it was very different than the ooking and eeking had made moments before.

"You're reading my mind, aren't you Jenny?" she said. I thought about it for a moment and then walked over to the nigger. He climbed up on my hips at once and wrapped his front paws tightly around my stomach and humped his prick straight toward my vaginal opening.

He pumped his semen into me for what seemed like an eternity, filling up my cunt, the overflow pouring out onto my ass and down my legs. I felt a huge bulge expanding in my cunt. I tried to pull away, but the knot that had formed in his cock locked us in position.

He growled deep in this throat, warning me not to move. I was afraid of upsetting him, as I didn't want him to bite me or beat me like Chris Brown [the-gossip.net] beat Rihanna. [thesuperficial.com] His knot deflated moments later and his cock slipped easily out of my dialated, sopping hole. I passed out shortly afterward.

When I came to, I looked around and realized that my friend and the nigger had disappeared. I wearily got to my feet, replaced my clothing and ran to where my car had been parked. It was gone! My colleague had taken my car and run off with the damn nigger as well as my laptop with the breakthrough! I burst into tears, vowing to never trust Chinese research scientists for the rest of my life.

Is quantum cryptography desirable in this scenario (3, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085909)

In general I think that although standard key exchange methods are theoretically less secure than quantum key exchanges, at least the standard key exchange methods are a) well understood, b) tested and c) commercially supported.

Putting highly secret documents in the hands of a technology made by college students working on PHD thesis seems to be a premature use of this technology.

It's not the technology itself, but the implementation of the technology that I'd worry about. And cost doesn't seem to be a good reason to take a gamble.

Re:Is quantum cryptography desirable in this scena (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086007)

Worse than that. The quantum stuff is really cool, and all kinds of useful for making sure a given bit of fiber isn't being eavesdropped on; but it is only link-level security. You have to have a run of fiber directly between hither and yon for communications to be secure. With ordinary crypto, you can use public internet or untrusted network segments controlled by others, or bailing wire or whatever. That is the ultimate limitation.

Re:Is quantum cryptography desirable in this scena (2, Insightful)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086421)

Exactly. Is public key crypto broken enough to need to spend any money to switch over to QKD?
For that matter is public key crypto over the internet broken?

From the QKD guy in the article:
"Conventional cryptography is exposed to threats from advances in computing power that provide for brute force attacks,"
As long as you stay up to speed (ie. keeping your key sizes up to standards), I don't see how this is an issue...

Re:Is quantum cryptography desirable in this scena (3, Insightful)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086591)

Exactly. Is public key crypto broken enough to need to spend any money to switch over to QKD? For that matter is public key crypto over the internet broken?

Yes. Think secret plans that can't get out, even in 20 years time.

Can you guarantee quantum computers won't be around in 20 years time?

Re:Is quantum cryptography desirable in this scena (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086979)

It could be a good compromise on the limitations of both. This could be used to transmit one-time pads in bursts and the pads could then be used over unsecured channels. As it stands, such pads have to be delivered or picked up by hand.

Who listens to the listeners (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087101)

Could be used to send non-interceptable signals intercepts between listening data centres.. No one wants anyone to know what they're interests are.

as long as there is no... (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085917)

... "your key has been intercepted, press OK to continue" popup, because you KNOW those public servants will just click OK and continue.

Re:as long as there is no... (2, Funny)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086375)

You're forgetting how government bureaucracy works. It would be something more like:

An interception event may have been detected. Do you wish to give permission to avoid preventing continuance?
Acknowledge - Defer

Re:as long as there is no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087223)

Man, do you work for the outfit inside Microsoft that creates the error messages?

Quantum Key + Internet Filter? (5, Funny)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085933)

So... are the scientists that frustrated with the Aussie internet filter [slashdot.org] that they're employing a quantum key encryption system just so they can get their porn?

obligatory movie quote (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27085993)

"That's not encryption. THIS, now THIS is encryption."

Re:obligatory movie quote (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086467)

No that's a spoon rot13.

Re:obligatory movie quote (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086715)

There is no spoon.

Re:obligatory movie quote (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086975)

That's no spoon. It's a french press.

Re:obligatory movie quote (1)

GrpA (691294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087105)

I see you've played Knifey Spooney before.

GrpA

insightful/informative? (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088327)

Quoting Crocdile Dundee is insightful/informative? *forehead slap*
I don't think I have ever had a joke go over mod's heads and it result in being modded UP...

This is the 1st OTS OKD system... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086011)

...to store entangled photons in a Bose-Einstein Condensate confined inside an empty Fosters can.

Great for them! (2, Funny)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086085)

Now the Australian government can finally protect their communications from the myriad foreign governments trying to spy on their communications!

Oh, wait...

Re:Great for them! (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086309)

what makes you think they aren't, and that it's only foreign governments that do the spying? fail.

Re:Great for them! (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087029)

You're being facetious but any government is a subject of interest for foreign intelligence services. The Russians for one spy on Canada not because they're necessarily super interested in Canada but because they can glean information about the US or anybody else the Canadians deal with. It must also be said tech like this would afford more protection against the US intelligence services than the Russians. All intelligence serices employ both electronic eavesdropping and myriad forms of "humint" (human intelligence) but the Russians rely more heavily on things that their sources may not even realize they're divulging while the US seems more enamored of signals interception and tapping cables in odd places.

Re:Great for them! (2, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087215)

More likely, now Australian scientists can protect their communications from the proposed Internet filter.

Re:Great for them! (3, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088169)

Guess where a great deal of the US's intelligence data is collected from. Hint: it's a large, dry country within long-range radio distance from China.

Guess where that data gets transmitted back to the US from? Hint: several top-secret joint US-Australian bases located in various places in Central Australia (i.e. the middle of nowhere)

And guess which country has more access to intelligence sharing with the US than any other allied nation (except for the UK)?

Australia's geographic position means a LOT of US intelligence data either is sourced from here or flows through here. So it's in all allied countries interests to have good encryption here ;)

FOOL! Do you realise what you've done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27088351)

You've implied that Australia is not an important nation, and now all the Aussie /.ers are going to mod you (Score: -1, Pretend He Never Posted)!

Security should be open for US bids (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086093)

The big problem is this will upset US/Australian links. What is Australia doing using tax payers funding and 'open source' to compete against real US companies?
11 with PhDs , 1 million form taxpayers, $1 million from a contingent of private investors.
If Australia is really encrypting more than one-time keys can take, they should go with a US contractor.
Put $100 million on the table and do it right.

Re:Security should be open for US bids (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086479)

why though?

Re:Security should be open for US bids (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086949)

He must think Australia is a US government department.

It pretty much is, but that's not the point.

Re:Security should be open for US bids (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086965)

Because if you're not buying expensive and unnecessary products from the US, then you are a terrorist.

Wait a minute... (2, Insightful)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086129)

It travels over fiber, and "the slightest attempt to intercept the one time keys, coded into lasers at the quantum level, will disrupt the beam".

How do you route it to its destination? Do you need a dedicated fiber line between the source and destination for this service to work?

Otherwise, why can't someone just, y'know, intercept it completely and then generate the same key again?

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Informative)

wdsci (1204512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086311)

Last I heard, quantum cryptography did require a dedicated line. And you can't intercept and regenerate the signal because the laws of quantum physics make it impossible to measure enough information about the beam to generate a copy of it. The way quantum cryptography works (at least this is one simple scheme), the sender of the key transmits photons that are polarized in one of 4 directions: N-S, E-W, NE-SW, or NW-SE. But when you measure the photons, you have to choose whether to make a N-S vs. E-W measurement, or an NE-SW vs. NW-SE measurement - you can't make both. And if you choose the wrong one for any particular photon, the outcome of the measurement is random (and the original orientation of the photon is lost). Although, the sender and receiver of the key will have to compare notes via non-quantum means, to see which photons they measured using the same scheme, and if you have access to both the quantum channel and the non-quantum channel, I guess you could pull off a man-in-the-middle attack.

Re:Wait a minute... (2, Interesting)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086481)

So, someone with enough knowledge as to which orientation the key will be encoded on can intercept it and generate a new photon with the same recorded information? Because, as you say, you can't record EVERYTHING about a photon at once, and you destroy it as you filter/record it, wouldn't the receiver destroy it as they filter/record it?

I know that you use a simplified example based on the polarity of the measurements, but if a nefarious evil party had the same equipment configured the same way as the true reciever, he/she could intercept the key and generate a new photon with a passable key?

If the distribution of the keys are based on known, shared configurations, aren't those configurations just a key used to decode/attack the secondary encryption layer of the key? (photon orientation).

Re:Wait a minute... (5, Informative)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086889)

The key is not encoded -- it is random. Both the "sender" and receiver have no idea what the photon's characteristics are. They both flip coins to see which type of measurement to make. Then they keep the bits where they made the same type of measurement and throw away the others.

Any intermediate party will either receive the photon (so the receiver won't) or not receive the photon (and can't measure it). Further, no intermediate party knows what measurements the sender and receiver will make so they can't make the same measurements. If the intermediary can't make the same measurements then it can't generate the same key, and can't generate a passable photon for the receiver. Assuming the sender and receiver have another channel which is secure against man in the middle attacks (though not necessarily secure against eavesdroppers), they can tell each other which type of measurements they made and know what to keep.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087093)

I understand now. +5 informative for you!

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087129)

And you can't intercept and regenerate the signal because the laws of quantum physics make it impossible to measure enough information about the beam to generate a copy of it.

What you say is mostly true, but slightly misleading. Google "quantum repeater". Basically, it is possible to intercept and regenerate the signal precisely, but in doing so you cannot know what that signal actually was.

[snip] and if you have access to both the quantum channel and the non-quantum channel, I guess you could pull off a man-in-the-middle attack.

A man-in-the-middle attack of this sort would basically be Eve "in between" Alice and Bob, where Alice has a quantum-encrypted channel to Eve, Eve has a separate independent quantum-encrypted channel to Bob, and Eve just forwards all the bits between Alice and Bob. Which, in the end, boils down to the fact that you still have to verify who you're really talking to at the other end of the protocol, just like any other cryptography scheme.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

wdsci (1204512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087559)

And you can't intercept and regenerate the signal because the laws of quantum physics make it impossible to measure enough information about the beam to generate a copy of it.

What you say is mostly true, but slightly misleading. Google "quantum repeater". Basically, it is possible to intercept and regenerate the signal precisely, but in doing so you cannot know what that signal actually was.

Actually I could say the same about what you say. Sure it's possible to intercept the quantum signal, but it is not possible to regenerate it precisely - by which I mean reproducing the original quantum state. Read up on the "no-clone theorem" - for example Wikipedia's article [wikipedia.org] . It is possible to generate a new signal (state) that, if measured in the same basis, will produce the same result. But this is not the same as the original signal.

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Informative)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087901)

I suspect we differ on the definition of "intercept". If you strictly mean "capture and extract information from", then I agree. Any measurement (the "extract information" part) will collapse the wavefunction, destroying the quantum coherences and ultimately (with approaching-unity probability) being detected by the QKD scheme. However, I was using the term in the more general sense of "have some device between", in which case what I said is entirely correct. Here's why:

Sure it's possible to intercept the quantum signal, but it is not possible to regenerate it precisely - by which I mean reproducing the original quantum state. Read up on the "no-clone theorem" - for example Wikipedia's article.

I'm well versed in the no-cloning theorem. As such, I know why it doesn't apply here. The no-cloning theorem is in relation to making an identical and independent copy of any (a general) quantum system whilst retaining the original system. In this context it would amount to producing a duplicate signal, independent but equal to the original signal. This is not possible under the no-cloning theorem. (I'll preempt a point here, too: Entanglement is not cloning, although it can sometimes look similar.)

But, intercepting and regenerating the signal does not necessarily involve ever having both the original and regenerated signals existing at the same time. Take an example of a kind of quantum repeater, a device that converts a photon signal into some other quantum state, say electron spin, and then converts that spin into a new photon signal. It's roughly the same idea as classical repeaters in long-distance fibre-optic communications. Now, I consider this operation to be an interception of the signal and generation of a new signal with the same information. It's a coherent process; all the quantum information in the original signal remains intact. But you can't get back the photons from the original signal, so the no-cloning theorem is not relevant. (A more detailed explanation of the workings of a quantum repeater could include entanglement, which also means no-cloning theorem is not relevent.)

A restriction on the device is that, to function, it cannot collapse the wavefunction. That means that (at a minimum) it cannot make a projective measurement of the quantum state. Thus, it cannot make any recorded measurement on the state, because that would require making a projective measurement, which would require defining a projection basis (randomly(!), because there's no better way), which would collapse the wavefunction, which would rightly end up being detected by the QKD scheme as eavesdropping.

So, you can have a device which intercepts and regenerates the signal, you just can't ask it any questions.

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

amirulbahr (1216502) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086821)

Not an expert on quantum crypto, but from the sounds of it you will need an all optical link. This does not preclude the possibility of switching and routing though. Many networking functions are already being implemented optically, for example wavelength based switching devices that are all optical, and optical regenerative repeaters. Many of the basic building blocks are already available or being perfected.

Oh timothy (aka kdawson)... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086137)

...How we missed all your Aussie spam.

Not quantum? (1)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086141)

The summary says the information is encoded in the frequency and amplitude of the light. Quantum systems encode information in the spin of photons...

So is it just me, or is this not really a quantum system at all?

Re:Not quantum? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086203)

The communication model, that you refer to, can encode information via any pair of two state systems that can be quantum entangled. Pairs of photons happen to be a natural way to do that. I gather the approach of the article entangles the frequency and amplitude of small light pulses for a similar effect.

Re:Not quantum? (1)

mokus000 (1491841) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086221)

Quantum mechanics applies to a *lot* more than just spin of photons. To name just one example, the classic double-slit experiment demonstrates quantum (or at least non-classical) behavior of the amplitude of light.

IMO, even if it's true that every "quantum system" developed up till now has been based on photon spin (which I don't believe), any system which depends on a quantum effect would qualify as a "quantum system." Note also that entanglement is not the only quantum effect which might be relevant here.

Re:Not quantum? (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086341)

Actually, I've never seen someone encoding information in the spin of photons. As a spin-1 particle, they are a 3-state system, not very cosy to use as a qubit.

Usually people encode information in the polarization of photons. In theoretical physics at least. But I guess for commercial uses its more practical to use frequency, as networking equipment are used to transmit it with high fidelity. But that's just a guess.

Pfft.... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086159)

Like Australia even HAS a quantum handgun. Er...wait.

Re:Pfft.... (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087371)

Well it does. And it doesn't. Until you look anyways.

Is this a machine translation... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086243)

From the original Strine?

> The random key is encoded at the quantum level in the sidebeam in the phase and
> amplitude, or brightness and colour, of a highly tuned laser beam.

Or is it just the gobbledegook it looks like?

Stupid. It won't work. (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086373)

"The days of hand-delivered security keys are numbered"

Yeah, sure. Quantum key distribution DOES NOT protect against man-in-the-middle attack. So you'll still need to know that the channel is physically secure before transmitting quantum key.

Re:Stupid. It won't work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086515)

Provided there is a middle.

It would be pretty easy for a goverment to setup something like a number station or some other route then piggy back off a faster land based system.

Hell i see an entire industry here once people start really caring about security.

You can't read my thesis! (4, Funny)

CrypticKev (1322247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086379)

The creators, who built the system in part for their Ph.Ds

They will encrypt their thesis with it. If ever decrypted, their doctorates will be revoked!

Re:You can't read my thesis! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086735)

If they're using a one-time pad (like most Quantum Crypto proposals suggest), they won't ever be decrypted. The only way to attack a one-time pad is if a. it's used more than once or b. you have the key. Otherwise there's no attack that will enable you to distinguish it from any other random stream of bits of the same length.

Endless Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086399)

And it's powered by an endless supply of rabbits in sealed boxes.

Okay but why? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086485)

I am at a loss to understand why the Australian Government would want this standard of security. This requires a dedicated fibre so it only works over a short range and over a land line. The bulk of security issues would be with international communications (say diplomatic stuff), wireless communications (police, military etc) and office networks (the federal public service).

But quantum won't help you in any of those cases. Oh well. I doubt I will hear if it is ever actually used.

Re:Okay but why? (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087491)

I'm at a bit of a loss as to why you think a government doesn't have a military, police force or diplomats.

Re:Okay but why? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087721)

The GP says that military, police force or diplomats are not that likely to always have a dedicated fiber cable to Headquarters. Most communications to these folks are either wireless, or through switched (public) networks. For this quantum stuff to be usable you need to have a permanent need for high volume, high value link between stationary objects reasonably close to each other, like government buildings.

Re:Okay but why? (2, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088201)

Well in Canberra (capital city of Australia), most government departments in the Parliamentary Triangle (where all the major/important Government departments area) are connected by a such a dedicated fibre network, that is completely physically separated from the Internet and other public networks This is particularly the case in the defence/intelligence precinct (which is a cluster of buildings in one particular suburb).

Interestingly I tried Googling it and couldn't find much at all. But it exists ... I've used it myself as a contractor to several AU Federal Govt. departments. So you could use this kind of encryption on a network like that I imagine.

But yeah, this technology seems like it wouldn't have huge application outside of these rare, special types of networks.

Re:Okay but why? (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088029)

Anything less secure is monitored casually by Chinese, American, and etc interests.

Really, I can't make it more simple than that.

attn: /. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086567)

for the love of god stop calling us aussies

do you call yourselves yanks? no?

fucking cut it out.

Re:attn: /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086807)

But we do call ourselves Aussies, so I'm failing to grasp your analogy.

Re:attn: /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086865)

So you are not an aussie, but an australian?
Strange man

Re:attn: /. (1)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086991)

Some how "Australia Australia Australia Oi Oi Oi" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi".

Re:attn: /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087069)

ok. We will stop it, aussie.

Re:attn: /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087289)

Don't get annoyed, just use Aussie rhyming slang:
  - Seppo -> Septic Tank -> Yank

Re:attn: /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087811)

As a fellow Aussie, I have to disagree with your sentiment. Taking yourself too seriously is a recipe for boredom =)

Re:attn: /. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088225)

I have no problem with Americans calling us Aussies, since we often use the term to refer to ourselves as well.

But it would be nice if they pronounced it right. It's said 'Ozzie' (like Ozzy Osbourne), not 'ahh-sie'. The 's' is more like 'z'.

NB. Some Americans do say it right. But 90% don't.

Re:attn: /. (1)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088239)

Agreed. Please everyone call them "residents of West Island".

Social Engineering. (1)

Twide (1142927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086621)

However great this system may/will be, there is no doubt that it's weakness will be the human factor on either end.

Phase != color (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27086673)

yeah. the human eye doesn't perceive phase: the wavelength or frequency is color, but good luck finding a macro-world equivalent to phase.

Bigger fish to fry... (2, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086679)

Sorry but you have $100k and you want to increase your security by wasting it on one highly secure pipe?

That is pretty sad. That money could be better allocated to toughen up systems or to employ spot checks on supposedly tough targets.

The truth is that almost no security breaches are conducted by cutting lines and intercepting the traffic (with the exception of satellite communications *cough* NSA *cough*).

Ultimately humans are the weakest part of the system, followed by the destination's security, and then last I'd say the transit between A->B.

Re:Bigger fish to fry... (1)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087039)

Sorry but you have $100k and you want to increase your security by wasting it on one highly secure pipe?

That is pretty sad. That money could be better allocated to toughen up systems or to employ spot checks on supposedly tough targets.

The truth is that almost no security breaches are conducted by cutting lines and intercepting the traffic (with the exception of satellite communications *cough* NSA *cough*).

Ultimately humans are the weakest part of the system, followed by the destination's security, and then last I'd say the transit between A->B.

You discount transmission interception too quickly I feel. Echelon comes to mind and I believe alot of information is gathered this way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON [wikipedia.org]

Im not sure but I wonder if this could be used to defeat Echelon ?

What is really cool about a one time pad system is that its secure from end to end as long as the key is kept secret. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_pad [wikipedia.org]

this technology allows the secure exchange of keys. so all you have worry about now is the human factor

Cryptography... (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086709)

Will always be vulnerable to a gun to your head and the question "What does it say?"

Try not to forget the human side of the equation when you're quoting statistics and mathematics.

Re:Cryptography... (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087675)

This is true, but generally speaking, when you have an armed gunman in one of the endpoints of a high security communication, you have bigger problems than cryptography.

Re:Cryptography... (2, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087787)

Spoken like someone who has neither held a gun, nor a human head, let alone at the same time, while interrogating a cryptographer, in Australia.

How does one answer that question with respect to a 10 gig fiber connection? How fast can you say ones and zeros?

I'm pretty sure firearms are an OSI layer 1 problem.

one time pad (2, Interesting)

Fanro (130986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27086757)

I do not get the advantages of this system over the one-time pad.
Is there anything this quantum key system could do that a courier carrying a terrabyte drive with a one-time pad once in a while could not?

The quantum key may not be interceptable in theory, but you still have to trust the sending and receiving equipment not to leak anything.
Auditing equipment advanced enough for quantum encryption sounds quite a bit harder than auditing a sealed box with a harddrive and a chip doing XORs for a one-time-pad.
And people with the neccessary trust and clearance AND the skills in quantum physics should be harder to come by.

Plus the bandwith of the quantum channel is low, so they are only sending the keys, and send the encrypted data by normal channels. So you also have to trust the encryption algorithm, while an OTP is provably unbreakable.

Re:one time pad (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27087235)

Yes -- it can transmit large volumes of data without trusting (and suffering the latency and costs of) hand-couriered secure encryption keys delivered on drives.

All this to protect a blacklist (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087013)

Now no-one will figure out which IP's are blocked HAHAHAHAHA! *evil*

-zifr

How do you know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087043)

How do you know that your key is being transmitted by a quantum mechanism that can't be deciphered? You really don't know what's in the box. Important keys will continue to hand delivered by people who realize their own limitations.

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087555)

Whoever wrote that quoted paragraph should have taken that draft back their sources for proofing. "will disrupt the beam"..."in the sidebeam"..."phase and amplitude, or brightness and colour"

I don't expect tech journalists to know even basic quantum mechanics, but wow.

so once you detect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27087757)

so once yu detect these keys you effectively stop them
ya brilliant design
just keep interrupting the flow and routs and poof they are noobified

Sharks (1)

wraithguard01 (1159479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27088249)

Now, if only they can put the lasers on some shark's head.
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