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how is quantum cryptography different from others forms?

<< Back to: Cryptography FAQ (01/10: Overview)

Question by sachin sah
Submitted on 9/4/2003
Related FAQ: Cryptography FAQ (01/10: Overview)
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how is quantum cryptography different from others forms?

Answer by Regie
Submitted on 12/16/2003
Rating:  Rate this answer: Vote

Quantum cryptography involves the physics of atomic particles, not electronic bits and bytes.  Quantum cryptosystems are based on Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) (also called Quantum Key Distribution Channels).  

In QKD systems, encryption keys are distributed at the quantum level, and according to Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle, measuring the state of the transmission will change it.  This allows with physical certainty that a transmission cannot be intercepted, read, and re-sent to the original receiver. The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox is also used by another type of QKD systems, which involves particle entanglement.

One example of what we are talking about here with a QKDC would be photon transmitter and reciever (not NIC cards) connected by optical fiber.  Light communication versus electrical. Since light is sub-atomic (photons), then you have quantum effects, not classical physics.

With QKD's shared keys are the only data items sent over a quantum channel.  The encrypted message, information about the parity of the sent keys, and other information is sent over a classical channel (i.e., wires, TCP/IP).

Do some searches on the Internet and you'll find more info on quantum.  The other interesting fact related to cryptography is that quantum computers can factor public/private key pairs rather quickly.  Look for Shor's algorithm on this.


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