A team of researchers has, for the first time, hacked into a network protected by quantum encryption.
Quantum cryptography uses the laws of quantum mechanics to encode data securely. Most researchers consider such quantum networks to be nearly 100% uncrackable. But a group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge was able to ‘listen in’ using a sort of quantum-mechanical wiretap. The trick allowed them to tease out about half of the data, in a way that couldn’t be detected by those transmitting or receiving the message.
The group admits that their hack isn’t yet capable of eavesdropping on a real network. “It is not something that currently could attack a commercial system,” says Jeffrey Shapiro, a physicist at MIT and one of the authors on the study.
But they expect that one day it will be able to do so, if quantum encryption isn’t adequately adapted to stop such hackers from succeeding.
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