The largest information technology agreement ever signed by
"Quantum systems represent the best hope for truly secure data encryption because they store or transmit information in ways that are unbreakable by conventional cryptographic methods," said Duncan McBranch, Chief Technology Officer at
By harnessing the quantum properties of light for generating random numbers, and creating cryptographic keys with lightning speed, the technology enables a completely new commercial platform for real-time encryption at high data rates. For the first time, ordinary citizens and companies will be able to use cryptographic systems that have only been the subject of experiments in the world's most advanced physics and computing laboratories for real-world applications.
If implemented on a wide scale, quantum key distribution technology could ensure truly secure commerce, banking, communications and data transfer.
The technology at the heart of the agreement is a compact random-number-generation technology that creates cryptographic keys based on the truly random polarization state of light particles known as photons. Because the randomness of photon polarization is based on quantum mechanics, an adversary cannot predict the outcome of this random number generator. This represents a vast improvement over current "random-number" generators that are based on mathematical formulas that can be broken by a computer with sufficient speed and power.
Moreover, any attempt by a third party to eavesdrop on the secure communications between quantum key holders disrupts the quantum system itself, so communication can be aborted and the snooper detected before any data is stolen.
"Whitewood aims to address one of the most difficult problems in securing modern communications: scalability--meeting the need for low-cost, low-latency, high-security systems that can effectively service increasingly complex data security needs," said
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