- Recently, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully demonstrated communication between its two labs using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) Technology.
About Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) Technology
- It is a secure communication method which implements a cryptographic protocol involving components of quantum mechanics.
- It enables two parties to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages.
- It gives the ability of the two communicating users to detect the presence of any third party trying to gain knowledge of the key.
- This is a result of a fundamental aspect of quantum mechanics: the process of measuring a quantum system, in general, disturbs the system.
- By using quantum superposition or quantum entanglement and transmitting information in quantum states, a communication system can be implemented that detects data leak.
How does it work?
- In the QKD, encryption keys are sent as qubits in a fibre optic cable. Time-bin encoding is used to encode qubit on a photon.
- Quantum computing uses qubits as basic resources, similar to how bits are used as basic resources in classical computing.
- The QKD is designed in a way that if an illegitimate entity tries to read the transmission, it will disturb the qubits – which are encoded on photons.
- This will generate transmission errors, leading to legitimate end-users being immediately informed.
Advantages of using QKD
- It allows the detection of data leak or hacking because it can detect any such attempt.
- It also allows the process of setting the error level between the intercepted data in dependence.
- The work being done at DRDO will be used to enable start-ups and SMEs in the domain of Quantum information technologies.
- It will also serve to define standards and crypto policies that can leverage QKD system in a unified Cipher Policy Committee (CPC) framework for more secure and pragmatic key management for current and future military cryptographic systems.