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FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

More secure fiber optic communications on the way

Only for NSA and other government comm at first. Moving to financial next; and general commercial down the line.

»www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/techn···ogy&_r=0

Scientists at Toshiba and Cambridge University have perfected a technique that offers a less expensive way to ensure the security of the high-speed fiber optic cables that are the backbone of the modern Internet.

The research, which will be published Tuesday in the science journal Physical Review X, describes a technique for making infinitesimally short time measurements needed to capture pulses of quantum light hidden in streams of billions of photons transmitted each second in data networks. Scientists used an advanced photodetector to extract weak photons from the torrents of light pulses carried by fiber optic cables, making it possible to safely distribute secret keys necessary to scramble data over distances up to 56 miles

The approach is based on quantum physics, which offers the ability to exchange information in a way that the act of eavesdropping on the communication would be immediately apparent. The achievement requires the ability to reliably measure a remarkably small window of time to capture a pulse of light, in this case lasting just 50 picoseconds — the time it takes light to travel 15 millimeters.

Modern optical data networking systems increase capacity by transmitting multiple data streams simultaneously in different colors of light. The Toshiba-Cambridge system sends the quantum information over the same fiber, but isolates it in its own frequency.

Despite their ability to carry prodigious amounts of data, fiber-optic cables are also highly insecure. An eavesdropper needs only to bend a cable and expose the fiber, Dr. Shields said. It is then possible to capture light that leaks from the cable and convert it into digital ones and zeros.

“The laws of quantum physics tell us that if someone tries to measure those single photons, that measurement disturbs their state and it causes errors in the information carried by the single photon,” he said. “By measuring the error rate in the secret key, we can determine whether there has been any eavesdropping in the fiber and in that way directly test the secrecy of each key.”


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A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.

HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:18

said by FFH:

Despite their ability to carry prodigious amounts of data, fiber-optic cables are also highly insecure. An eavesdropper needs only to bend a cable and expose the fiber, Dr. Shields said. It is then possible to capture light that leaks from the cable and convert it into digital ones and zeros.

Emphasis mine.

I wonder if that's a direct quote, or a misquote. Pretty sure anyone with any time in fiber systems'd rip that
person a new one on this. Yes, fiber can bend, but only so far before it's rendered useless for transmitting
anything but meaningless gobbledygook, and a trunk roll catches you with your pants around your ankles,
figuratively speaking.

I also wonder 'highly insecure' as opposed to what...

Regards