Dutch scientists have recently announced a breakthrough in quantum mechanics that could have significant applications in networks and security. Where previous experiments in this field have demonstrated that information could be transmitted across great distances (up to 90 miles) via quantum mechanics, the researchers at Delft University were able to instantaneously transfer information between two quantum-entangled bits (Qubits) ten feet apart from each other, and they theorize this could be accomplished at greater distances as well. While this may not sound like a practical distance, there are two important facets to consider: the information doesn’t actually traverse the distance, the information just exists in two different places at the same time, and the materials used to build the Qubits (in this case, diamond) could conceivably be produced on a mass-scale.
What this means for you:
Though it sounds like science fiction, quantum computers are actually being built and are in use, though mostly in highly experimental situations. The benefit of quantum data communications go beyond speed: because data isn’t transmitted so much as teleported across distances, it would be theoretically impossible to intercept, tap or otherwise tampered with a quantum bit of information without altering it, and thereby rendering any sort of eavesdropping impossible. Quantum-based encryption keys would be unbreakable and could never be intercepted or replicated as has been the weakness exploited in Heartbleed and countless other security hacks. However, we are still years away from a quantum internet, or even a quantum home computer or router, so don’t give up on your current security measures just yet. Also keep in mind that even though quantum security is impossible to hack in theory, the devices that will be built to use quantum mechanics will still be designed by people, which means that it is only as impervious or infalliable as the humans that created it.
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