Toshiba’s vision is to secure the world’s communications from advances in computing and mathematics. At a time when technological progress has created an almost constant state of data proliferation, the need for the secure transmission of sensitive information has never been more significant. It is essential to protect and future-proof data communication now through the advancement of reliable and ultra-secure quantum cryptography solutions.
Toshiba is determined to become one of the world’s leading cyber-physical-system technology companies through strategies that include pioneering development of quantum cryptography solutions. Toshiba’s Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) offering brings the fundamental laws of Quantum Physics to network communications and computing. Based on decades of academic and scientific research, Toshiba’s industry leading approach to information technology provides organisations with the ability to revolutionise their IT infrastructure with the most secure communications known today.
What is Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) ?
Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is used to distribute the secret digital keys important for protecting highly sensitive data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of customers, critical to many industries. In particular, the finance, defense, utilities, and health sectors as well as critical infrastructure with the onset of IoT and smart cities.
The essence of QKD security relies on encoding each bit of the key upon a single photon (particle of light) transmitted, for example through an ordinary optical fibre. As any attempt to read the photons alters their encoding, this allows the secrecy of each key to be tested and guaranteed. Unlike other existing security solutions, QKD is secure from all future advances in mathematics and computing, including the data processing power of a quantum computer.
By adopting QKD today, organisations can protect their communication infrastructure from today’s vast array of cyber-threats, as well as those of tomorrow. Already, hackers are using techniques such as harvest and decrypt, where data is scraped and stored today with the aim of decrypting it once they have the capability to do so through advances with supercomputers, the realisation of a quantum computer, or the discovery of new techniques for cryptanalysis. With quantum cryptography solutions such as QKD, any data which requires long-term protection is not only secure in today’s IT landscape, but also future-proofed to remain protected in the impending quantum age.
How does Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) work?
By harnessing the inherent unpredictability in the state of particles, like electrons or photons, quantum cryptography can be used to generate the random numbers needed for cryptographic applications. Furthermore, by sending streams of encoded single photons through a fibre-optic communication network, it is possible to share a secret digital key which can be used for encrypting or authenticating information. If a third party tries to intercept the key transmission and reads it, it'll become apparent that someone is tapping the line and the transmission can be terminated. Put simply, QKD technology brings the fundamental laws of Quantum Physics to network communications to make the most secure communications known today, superseding traditional public key encryption.
Communicating with single photons does pose challenges which have to be met with innovative new technologies. Most crucially, the encoding of the light particles has to be preserved after transmitting through the fibre-optic network and they have to be detected with high efficiency. Toshiba is at the forefront of developing these new technologies and has demonstrated a range of industry leading results ensuring a level of security that is a necessity for future-proof data security.