Verizon has become the first wireless carrier to pilot the use of quantum key distribution (QKD) to help secure its network.
Quantum key distribution is a type of cryptography that relies on the principles involved in quantum mechanics, and specifically quantum entanglement. As a result, because information is transmitted in a quantum state, it’s impossible for a third-party to snoop on the transmission without being detected. This makes QKD one of the only types of encryption that is future-proofed in a world where quantum computing will render other forms of encryption obsolete.
Verizon has now demonstrated how QKD can be used to protect its network. Quantum keys were created and exchanged over a QKD network and used to encrypt video streams. The recipient was able to watch the videos in real-time, while any hackers would be instantly detected.
“We continue to innovate and discover new ways to ensure safe networks and communications down the road for both consumers and enterprises,” said Nicki Palmer, chief product development officer at Verizon. “In testing advanced security technologies, our QKD trial demonstrates how quantum-based technology can strengthen data security today and in the future.”
“The use of quantum mechanics is a great step forward in data security,” said Christina Richmond, analyst at IDC. “Verizon’s own tests, as well other industry testing, have shown that deriving “secret keys” between two entities via light photons effectively blocks perfect cloning by an eavesdropper if a key intercept is attempted. Current technological breakthroughs have proven that both the quantum channel and encrypted data channel can be sent over a single optical fiber. Verizon has demonstrated this streamlined approach brings greater efficiency for practical large-scale implementation allowing keys to be securely shared over wide-ranging networks.”