The University of Rochester has begun work on what they call a Quantum Enigma Machine. This new machine is said to be responsible for unbreakable encryption. It will also shorten encryption keys, and make data interception much more difficult than it already is.
American Mathematician Claude Shannon came up with a binary system that would allow him to transmit messages under three stipulations: the key is random, only used once, and it has to be as long as the message itself is.
Recent studies show that scientists are theorizing that they could send a message with unbreakable encryption with a key that is much shorter than the message itself. Their theory may soon become fact as researchers have developed the quantum enigma machine.
Seth Lloyd is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has said the theoretical machine could actually encrypt messages through the use of photons. Photons are light’s smallest particles. The particles would carry the encrypted messages online that use photons different variables for key generation.
Quantum data locking uses light-waves features, unlike its binary brethren. Features that will decide key generation and angle of tilt, wavelengths, and amplitude. As these features are greater than the ones and zeros, the keys generated can now be shorter than the message itself.
The sender will use the machine to generate photons. They go through a spatial light modulator that transforms the messages from unencrypted, to encrypted. Simply, this means that the features have been changed and the encrypted photon now appears scrambled that can only be unencrypted by the receiver on their own spatial light modulator. Their SLM would flatten, refocus and translate the message for them.
“While our device is not 100 percent secure, due to photon loss, it does show that data locking in message encryption is far more than a theory,” said team leader Daniel Lum.
Even with the discovery Lum and his team have made, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to cryptography and quantum physics. The team is working on integrating fiber optics into the machine.