Could a Los Alamos Project Lead to Cybercrime-Free Future?

The Los Alamos National Lab brings to mind nuclear mushroom clouds, the cult television show the X-Files, and scientist Robert Oppenheimer. But a recent story posted on M.I.T.’s Technology Review blog about its use of quantum Internet (for the past two years, in fact) may help to update the lab’s image. 

As Huasong Zhou, our partner brand’s resident computer expert explained to me, 

“What the Los Alamos scientists propose is extremely secure because of the ‘one-time pad’, or the key to decode an encrypted message. Their quantum message enabled central hub can securely deliver the one-time pad and transmit data via regular optical network. The concept is that without a decryption key, even if a hacker hijacked the message, they would have no clue what the message says.”

Although quantum Internet connections have been created and achieved by teams in the recent past, the Los Alamos scientists claim to have solved a scalability challenge present in previous trials by using lasers as opposed to photon processers (which, according to the M.I.T. article, are more bulky and also more expensive).   And while this may be extremely exciting news for anyone concerned about cybersecurity, it’s possible that – like so much technology associated with the Internet – quantum Internet could be made commercially available only to become almost immediately obsolete, as the M.I.T. piece also explains. We hope that more scientists and researchers are given a voice on The Hill than we’ve seen so far at cybersecurity hearings, which are typically packed with cybersecurity company execs, policy experts, and law enforcement.

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