Scientists have registered a huge success in building the first ever high-dimensional quantum cloning machine which can intercept a secure message, an advance system which can help uncover clues to strengthen and secure the next-generation computers from possible hacking attacks.
Notably, the protection of traditional computer systems, which use ones and zeros, from hacking attempts is not a perfect science.
In the complex world of quantum computing and systems, where every bit of information can simultaneously hold multiple states beyond zero and one, a potential threat becomes even trickier to tackle.
Ebrahim Karimi, professor at University of Ottawa in Canada, commenting on the issue said, “Our team has built the first high-dimensional quantum cloning machine capable of performing quantum hacking to intercept a secure quantum message.”
Karimi further said, “Once we were able to analyse the results, we discovered some very important clues to help protect quantum computing networks against potential hacking threats.”
For a good book knowledge, Quantum systems till now were believed to provide perfectly safe and secure data transmission until now, but now attempts are being made to copy the transmitted information resulted in an altered or deteriorated version of the original information, thereby diminishing the purpose of the initial hack attempt.
In the regular protocol, traditional computing allows a hacker to easily copy and paste the information and multiply it exactly, but this does not hold correct in the quantum computing world, where attempts to copy quantum information - or ‘qudits’ - result in what Karimi refers to as “bad” copies.
For the very first time, the experts team was able to clone the photons that transmit valuable information, normally the single carriers of light known as ‘qubits’, as well as quantum theory allows, meaning that the clones were almost exact replicas of the original information provided.
However, in addition to the consequent notion which was previously thought to be an exact way of securely transmitting the information, the researchers’ analyses revealed promising clues into how to secure computers against such hacking.
Doctoral student at University of Ottawa, Frederic Bouchard said, “What we found was that when larger amounts of quantum information are encoded on a single photon, the copies will get worse and hacking even simpler to detect.”
Bouchard futher said, “We were also able to show that cloning attacks introduce specific, observable noises in a secure quantum communication channel.”
He added, “Ensuring photons contain the largest amount of information possible and monitoring these noises in a secure channel should help in strengthening quantum computing networks against potential hacking threats.”
The quantum hacking techniques can be used to study and relate quantum communication systems, or more generally to study how quantum information travels across quantum computer networks.
The research was published in the journal Science Advances.