China testing an unhackable quantum messaging service

China unhackable quantum messaging experiment

Like every other major country, China is concerned with cybersecurity and wants an unhackable government. What’s next? Quantum messaging.

The Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology will encode messages in particles of light, as part of an unhackable quantum messaging service.

Internet and telephone cables can be easily tapped and securing these mediums is extremely expensive, so China’s solution comes as no surprise. The technology they propose though is amazing: quantum networks sending messages embedded in particles of light. If a third party tries to intercept or hack these networks, the quantum nature of the particles will disrupt the communication.

The technology utilizes an interesting physics phenomenon where two or more entangled particles (twins) will react in a correlated manner, even when separated by huge distances, and when one of them is directly receiving a stimuli.

How is it unhackable? Essentially, most hacking tap into communications somewhere between the sender and the receiver. On the other side, quantum entanglement allows for data to be sent without actually traveling between 2 points (particles in this case).

Does this technology sound light-years away? It’s not. In August, this quantum messaging service will be deployed to 200 selected individuals from government, finance and military departments in Jinan. According to The Independent, the quantum satellite launched in August 2016 is capable of sending messages over distances of 750 miles. Pentagon itself said that this quantum satellite is a “notable advance in cryptography research”.

Now, The Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology is conducting tests over the longest network in the world (2,000 km), one capable of encrypting 4000 pieces of data every second and tying Shanghai to Beijing.

“We plan to use the network for national defense, finance and other fields, and hope to spread it out as a pilot that if successful, can be used across China and the whole world,” said Zhou Fei, assistant director of Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology, the Financial Times reports.

While Russia is working on Skype clones with better security features and the US relies on the chat app Signal for use in the senate, China took it to the next level: quantum messaging. We’ll have to wait and see how this goes.

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