Researchers at the University of Rochester have moved beyond the theoretical in demonstrating that an unbreakable encrypted message can be sent with a key that's far shorter than the message—the first time that has ever been done.
Until now, unbreakable encrypted messages were transmitted via a system envisioned by American mathematician Claude Shannon, considered the “father of information theory.” Shannon combined his knowledge of algebra and electrical circuitry to come up with a binary system of transmitting messages that are secure, under three conditions: the key is random, used only once, and is at least as long as the message itself.
The findings by Daniel Lum, a graduate student in physics, and John Howell, a professor of physics, have been published in the journal Physical Review A.
“Daniel's research amounts to an important step forward, not just for encryption, but for the field of quantum data locking,” said Howell.
Quantum data locking is a method of encryption advanced by Seth Lloyd, a professor of quantum information at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that uses photons—the smallest particles associated with light—to carry a message. Quantum data locking was thought to have limitations for securely encrypting messages, but Lloyd figured out how to make additional assumptions—namely those involving the boundary between light and matter—to make it a more secure method of sending data.
More here. [Thanks to Farrukh Azfar.]