A Swiss quantum computing start-up has claimed a major breakthrough in encryption technology, beating British technologists to develop a system that can send theoretically unhackable messages around the world.
Terra Quantum, a Swiss business developing ways to keep sensitive information safe from the ability of quantum computers to break traditional encryption, has found a new method of securely sending data on fibre optic cables for up to 40,000km (24,850 miles).
The company’s new secure transmission method works using quantum key distribution, which is a way of sending data using quantum mechanics that many physicists say makes it impossible for hackers to intercept the data without alerting either side.
“We were looking for a protocol that works on existing optical fibre infrastructure because that’s what we have today,” said Terra Quantum chief executive Markus Pflitsch. “You can actually use it. We can implement it today over today’s telecom infrastructure. That was crucial that it’s implementable.”
Terra Quantum’s breakthrough could pave the way for more governments and financial institutions to build quantum key distribution networks around the world, progressing beyond the small scale networks currently in use.