Over 70 years ago a very intelligent mathematician and engineer named Claude Shannon, known as “the father of information theory,” started to pave the way for computing and communications by building some of the world’s first computers. He was also a major contributor to the field of cryptology and in 1949, in his published paper called ‘Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems‘ that proved it was quite possible to send a secure message using an encryption key that is entirely random and used only once.
Now, with the help of Shannon’s research and contributions, quantum physicists have been able to demonstrate that the process will work much better when using quantum rules. The scientists state that a message can be sent with an encryption key of a different size to that of its message in the quantum world.So, it has been very exciting times for Daniel Lum and his team at Rochester, New York as they reveal their world’s first fully working quantum enigma machine.
The previous Enigma machine used a single use pad and worked by attaching a random number to each digit of the message that can only be read by reversing the process. Both the sender and receiver must be the only people with the list of random numbers, and this is longer than the actual message.
With the quantum enigma machine, quantum keys are used to encrypt the message to ensure maximum security of the data. This method works by encoding information in a quantum object and altering the state of it with a random operation. By doing this it ensures the data can only be retrieved again by reversing that same random operation, but unlike the original enigma machine, the quantum key can be much shorter than the actual message.
With technology advancing at the rapid rate that it is, it’s no surprise that we have developed these enhanced encryption machines. And, with extended research and development who knows how much further we can go with these machines and they could well be available for commercial use in the very near future.