Schrödinger's Cat and Quantum Cryptology
By Michael Fiorito, MDS
Whenever you buy something online, you’re benefiting from the mathematics of encryption. Can today’s encryption be hacked?
The short answer is that it is extraordinarily difficult, but not impossible. With enough computing power and skilled mathematicians, hackers can crack today’s math based encryption.
In search of greater security, a new generation of code makers has been turning from math to physics. These cryptologists exploit the laws of quantum mechanics, pioneered by Erwin Schrödinger, to send messages that are provably unhackable.
This new field called is called quantum cryptography.
Quantum cryptography draws its strength from the weirdness of sub-atomic particles. Sub-atomic particles are able to simultaneously exist in more than one place or more than one state of being at a time. They choose how to behave only when they bump into something else or when we measure their properties.
A quantum key encodes and sends the information needed to decrypt a message in the fuzzy properties of particles, typically light particles. Eavesdroppers trying to steal the key must make measurements of those particles to do so. Because those measurements change the particles’ behavior, they introduce errors that can be detected and alert users that a key has been compromised and should not be used to encode information.
Quantum cryptography therefore makes hacking detectable and consequently more secure.