(Sifted.eu) Terra Quantum recently announced a breakthrough in quantum cryptography with a technology that allows quantum cryptography keys to be transmitted over a distance of more than 40,000km — the circumference of the Earth.
It exceeds all previous quantum cryptography distance records out of the water with an almost 100x improvement and potentially solves the biggest problem preventing quantum cryptography from becoming practically usable.
One big advantage of Terra Quantum’s solution is that it can run inside a standard optical fibre line, already in use today in telecoms networks. The technology is based on measuring the loss of photons over a particular line and carefully controlling the transmitted signal so that the amount of signal that an eavesdropper on the line is never enough to be able to extract meaningful information. “We can know exactly how much of the signal is being intercepted and can tweak it to make sure that the eavesdropper only gets a few photons — which would be obscured by quantum noise,” says Nikita Kirsanov, project lead at Terra Quantum.
Terra Quantum is in talks with several telecoms companies to run proof of concept projects to demonstrate the system.
The world faces a huge threat in the next few years when quantum computers become powerful enough to break the cryptography of conventional computers. Everything from government communications to the contents of Bitcoin wallets would become vulnerable to hackers. “We’re not talking in 10 years, it will be within 2 to 5 years,” says Markus Pflitsch, founder and CEO of Terra Quantum. Hackers and hostile governments are likely to be among the first to harness quantum computers for code-breaking.