Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















INTERNET SPACE
Quantum key system could make mobile transactions far more secure
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 17, 2017


This handheld device for transmitting and receiving quantum cryptographic keys was built from off-the-shelf components. The device could be miniaturized for use in a mobile device. Image courtesy Iris Choi, Oxford University. For a larger version of this image please go here.

With the growing popularity of mobile phone apps to pay for purchases at cash registers and gas pumps, users would like to know their personal financial information is safe from cyber-attacks. For the first time, researchers have demonstrated a prototype device that can send unbreakable secret keys from a handheld device to a terminal.

In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Express, researchers lay out a scheme for transmitting quantum keys at a high enough data rate to ensure data security while compensating for the inevitable movement of the human hand. Their prototype system uses ultra-fast LEDs and moveable mirrors to send a secret key at a rate of more than 30 kilobytes per second over a distance of 0.5 meters.

"The idea is that this gadget would be a mobile object that talks to something that is fixed," said Iris Choi of Oxford University, one of the paper's authors. If integrated into a cell phone, for example, the device could allow secure links to near-field communications mobile payment systems and indoor Wi-Fi networks. It also could improve the security of ATMs and help prevent ATM skimming attacks, which are estimated to cost the industry more than $2 billion annually.

Keys made from light
The technology is a quantum key distribution system. Quantum key distribution relies on characteristics of a single photon to provide a bit - a 1 or a 0 - to build up a cryptographic key that can encrypt and decrypt information. Quantum keys are considered secure because if someone intercepts the quantum bits and then passes them on, the very act of measuring them will alter them.

"When an eavesdropper attempts to tap into the channel, it will change the content of the key," Choi said. "We're not saying this technology can prevent being eavesdropped on, but if you do eavesdrop, we know you're there."

The system contains six resonant-cavity LEDs, which provide overlapping spectra of light. Each of the six is filtered into a different polarization, split into pairs to represent 1s and 0s - horizontal or vertical, diagonal or anti-diagonal, circular left or circular right.

The circularly polarized LEDs provide the bits for the key, while the other pairs are used to measure the security of the channel and provide error correction. Every four nanoseconds, one of the channels produces a one-nanosecond pulse in a random pattern. On the other end, six polarized receivers pick up the light from their matching LEDs and convert the photons into the key.

It's important not to let a potential adversary know which channel has which polarization, because that would reveal which bits were being sent, but there will always be some slight variation in the wavelength emitted by each LED, which could serve to identify them and give a hacker a way to break the code. The researchers solved this problem by equipping both the transmitter and the receiver with filters that select only a portion of the light, so they all shine with the exact same color, regardless of which polarization they produce.

Steering the beam
A quantum key must be long enough to ensure that an adversary cannot hack it simply by guessing randomly. This requires the system to transmit a large number of bits in less than a second. Achieving such a high data transmission rate in turn requires that most of the photons get to where they're supposed to go.

As a result, Choi said, the prototype's most important innovation is the steering system. Even someone trying to hold perfectly still has some motion in his hand. The research team measured this motion by looking at how the spot of a laser pointer jittered as a person tried to hold it steady. They then optimized design elements of the beam-steering system, such as bandwidth and field of view, to compensate for this hand movement.

To help the detector properly align with the transmitter and further correct for hand movement, both the receiver and the transmitter contain a bright LED with a different color than the quantum key distribution LED that acts as a beacon. A position sensing detector on the other side measures the precise location of the beacon and moves a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) mirror to align the incoming light with the fiber optics of the detector.

The team tested their idea with a handheld prototype made from off-the-shelf equipment. Choi said the design likely could be easily miniaturized in order to turn the system into a practical component for a mobile phone from brands such as Nokia, which participated in the research.

Improving the protocol while keeping the same hardware could also increase the transmission rate, and other changes could be made to let the device work over longer distances to, for instance, connect with a Wi-Fi hub.

Paper: H. Chun, I. Choi, G. Faulkner, L. Clarke, B. Barber, G. George, C. Capon, A. Niskanen, J. Wabnig, D. O'Brien, D. Bitauld, "Handheld free space quantum key distribution with dynamic motion compensation," Opt. Express., Volume 25, Issue 6, 6784-6795 (2017). DOI: 10.1364/OE.25.006784.

INTERNET SPACE
Yahoo names post-spinoff management team
Washington (AFP) March 14, 2017
Yahoo said Monday that board member and former internet executive Thomas McInerney would lead the business that remains after the sale of its core assets to Verizon is completed. The internet pioneer said the sale of its main operating unit was on track to be completed in the second quarter, and that McInerney would head the financial holding company that remains, provisionally called "Altab ... read more

Related Links
The Optical Society
Satellite-based Internet technologies

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

INTERNET SPACE
Trump's budget would cut NASA asteroid mission, earth science

Aiming Higher: High School Students Build Flight Hardware Bound for Space

Student Scientists Select Menu for Astronauts

Fly me to the Moon: Russia seeks new cosmonauts

INTERNET SPACE
SpaceX launches EchoStar XXIII comms satellite into orbit

US BE-4 Rocket Engines to Replace Russian RD-180 on Atlas Carrier Rockets

Kennedy's Multi-User Spaceport Streamlines Commercial Launches

Hitting the brakes at Alpha Centauri

INTERNET SPACE
ExoMars: science checkout completed and aerobraking begins

Mars Rover Tests Driving, Drilling and Detecting Life in Chile's High Desert

Opportunity Driving South to Gully

NASA Mars Orbiter Tracks Back-to-Back Regional Storms

INTERNET SPACE
China Develops Spaceship Capable of Moon Landing

Long March-7 Y2 ready for launch of China's first cargo spacecraft

China Seeks Space Rockets Launched from Airplanes

Riding an asteroid: China's next space goal

INTERNET SPACE
A Consolidated Intelsat and OneWeb

UK funding space entrepreneurs

Kymeta and Intelsat announce new service to revolutionize how satellite services are purchased

ISRO Makes More Space for Private Sector Participation in Satellite Making

INTERNET SPACE
Why water splashes: New theory reveals secrets

Next-gen steel under the microscope

Aluminium giant Rusal doubles profits

Groundbreaking process for creating ultra-selective separation membranes

INTERNET SPACE
Operation of ancient biological clock uncovered

Fossil or inorganic structure? Scientists dig into early life forms

Gigantic Jupiter-type planet reveals insights into how planets evolve

Visualizing debris disk "roller derby" to understand planetary system evolution

INTERNET SPACE
ESA's Jupiter mission moves off the drawing board

NASA Mission Named 'Europa Clipper'

Juno Captures Jupiter Cloudscape in High Resolution

Juno to remain in current orbit at Jupiter




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement