Researchers at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have used quantum mechanics to develop a method for protecting financial data and personal information. Known as Quantum-Secure Authentication, the new method can confirm the identity of any person or object, such as debit cards, even if essential data has been stolen.
Rather than using a microprocessor chip to authenticate and identify a card, the approach uses the quantum properties of light that allow photons to be in multiple locations simultaneously. These properties help convey authentication questions and answers, creating a fraud-proof exchange similar to those used to authorize credit card transactions. The process transmits a specific number of photons to a specially prepared surface on a credit card, where the photons create a complex pattern. A hacker's attempt to observe the question-and-answer exchange would collapse the light's quantum nature and destroy the information being transmitted.
In a real-world example, a credit card may be equipped with a section of white paint containing millions of nanoparticles. A laser could project individual photons of light into the paint, where they move around the nanoparticles and create the pattern used to authenticate the card. Twente's Pepijn Pinkse, who led the research, says the new method also could be used to secure buildings, identification cards, and cars.
From Homeland Security News Wire
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