This is a major breakthrough in cryptography. Previously, the security of a network has been essentially determined by the relative strengths of the network’s computing power and the attempting hacker’s computing power. An example would be what is known as the “51% attack” in the bitcoin network. If a particular participant in the network obtains more than the rest of the network’s computing power combined, such that the participant therefore comprises more than 50% of the network, they can create fictitious data and pass it off to the network as if it were true. This is because the bitcoin network protocol, like many other network protocols, considers a statement valid if the majority of the network considers it valid.
Technically the so-called 51% attack is a misnomer, but that’s what it is called. Actually, even 50% network power is not necessary. 50% network power is necessary to create fictitious data and certainly approve it, but even lesser amounts of network power, especially if sustained over time, will do the trick. In those cases the attack will not be certainly effective, but may still be very likely to be effective.
Long story short, computing power has been the determinate prior to Toshiba’s quantum cryptography technology. That technology takes security in an entirely new direction. Read the linked article for more detail, but essentially it uses the physical properties of photons, rather than computing power, to ensure security. As a result, unless the laws of physics can somehow be altered, no data can be modified or intercepted inside the network.
- Toshiba’s quantum access networking promises spy-proof encryption for groups (engadget.com)
- Quantum: The Absolutely, Positively Un-Hackable Communications System (darkgovernment.com)
- Scientists reveal new breakthrough in uncrackable quantum cryptography (theverge.com)