How secure is quantum cryptography?

Cryptography is the process of encrypting data, which simply means to take normal text (plaintext) and convert it into a coded version (ciphertext) which is unreadable. This way the information is only readable by people that have the key that can convert the information back into plaintext. Encryption is used in multiple places including over the internet as a means to have secure communication between two different parties. Quantum cryptography uses the principles of quantum mechanics to encrypt data and transmit it in a way that is much more difficult to hack.

Source @ freecodecamp

Here is a detailed explanation of how quantum cryptography works from “Quantum cryptography, or quantum key distribution (QKD), uses a series of photons (light particles) to transmit data from one location to another over a fiber optic cable. By comparing measurements of the properties of a fraction of these photons, the two endpoints can determine what the key is and if it is safe to use.

Breaking the process down further helps to explain it better.

  1. The sender transmits photons through a filter (or polarizer) which randomly gives them one of four possible polarizations and bit designations: Vertical (One bit), Horizontal (Zero bit), 45 degree right (One bit), or 45 degree left (Zero bit).

  2. The photons travel to a receiver, which uses two beam splitters (horizontal/vertical and diagonal) to “read” the polarization of each photon. The receiver does not know which beam splitter to use for each photon and has to guess which one to use.

  3. Once the stream of photons has been sent, the receiver tells the sender which beam splitter was used for each of the photons in the sequence they were sent, and the sender compares that information with the sequence of polarizers used to send the key. The photons that were read using the wrong beam splitter are discarded, and the resulting sequence of bits becomes the key.

If the photon is read or copied in any way by an eavesdropper, the photon’s state will change. The change will be detected by the endpoints. In other words, this means you cannot read the photon and forward it on or make a copy of it without being detected.”

How secure is quantum cryptography

Quantum cryptography has high expectations of being a virtually unhackable form of encryption. Quantum computers are expected to be able to crack many of the traditional cryptography algorithms fairly quickly due to their increased processing power, making many of them insecure and not viable options. However, even with the advancement of quantum computers quantum cryptography is expected to be extremely hard to crack. Some people even argue that quantum computers will make quantum cryptography as all other forms of encryption may become obsolete.

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