As malicious hackers mount ever more sophisticated attacks, China is about to launch a new, “unhackable” communications network – at least in the sense that any attack on it would be quickly detected. IT security experts commented below.
Leigh-Anne Galloway, Cyber Security Resilience Lead at Positive Technologies:
“In the field of quantum cryptography, there are some commercial applications already in different countries, including MagiQ, ID Quantique and Tokyo QKD Network. We may see some quantum-protected telecoms soon, at least for military and top-business communications.
“However, it’s not correct to call this communication “unhackable”. Quantum key distribution is vulnerable to many different attacks. One of them is a man-in-the-middle attack, where in order to establish a secure connection, the parties have to be able to verify each other’s identities first, and these identities could be stolen by a hacker. It’s also possible to mount a denial-of-service (DoS) attack blocking the line of optic signals. That’s why the development of safe quantum key distribution networks requires more fundamental research which is possible on the state support only, much like nuclear power studies.”
Tim Helming, Director of Product Management at DomainTools:
“While the term ‘unhackable’ is eerily reminiscent of ‘unsinkable,’–and we all know how that went–quantum cryptography is indeed an impressive technology that holds great promise as a means of securing communications. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that data breaches don’t generally occur because an attacker brute-force cracks today’s encryption. Attackers instead find other ways of getting hold of the data they seek. This means that, while one part of the security picture becomes indisputably stronger, organizations using quantum encryption in the future will still not be immune from being breached.”