Physicists at Harvard University have built what they believe is the longest quantum communications network

Physicists at Harvard University have built what they believe is the world’s longest secure quantum communications network using 22 miles of existing fiber-optic cable.

The experiment, published in the scientific journal Nature, linked two functional quantum computing nodes to each other through a strange physical phenomenon called “entanglement.” This allowed them to share data across a distance of 22 miles in a form that was impenetrable according to the laws of physics.

Source: Can Knaut via OpenStreetMap

Q day

The world is currently embroiled in a technological race to shore up global computer security ahead of “Q Day,” a hypothetical point in the near future when bad actors will gain access to quantum computers powerful enough to rip current encryption methods.

While major organizations such as banks, military installations, and the healthcare industry have already begun adopting data protection protocols, there is currently no functional alternative to data transfer.

Basically, no matter how well the data is encrypted, any time it is sent, there is a risk of unwanted interception.

Quantum computers and quantum networks have the potential to eliminate this risk due to the nature of how quantum data is handled.

Quantum networks

Data cannot be copied in a quantum system. This is because quantum data is very fragile. The slightest alteration, including something as innocuous as performing a simple scientific measurement, alters the data, making it unusable.

Since quantum data cannot be copied, it cannot be transferred from one node to another in the traditional sense. Instead, it should be “interwoven” at both points. This is achieved using diamonds that have a specific type of defect in their “cores,” allowing scientists to exploit vacuum space to entangle quantum information.

Simply put, quantum mechanics allows data to be transmitted at a distance, not transmitted.

For this reason, the big fear is not that bad actors will build quantum systems to intercept data — we may be decades away from even well-funded adversarial organizations gaining access to quantum systems — but that legacy data, encrypted with non-quantum safeguards, will be stolen from the systems. And current transmissions are then stored for decryption at a later time when bad actors can find some way into a modern quantum computer system.

Meanwhile, experimental quantum network systems being built today could one day serve as the primary means of distributing sensitive data.

Instead of, for example, sending financial transaction information through typical banking “wires” or legacy networks, organizations can store data in well-protected data centers and only “send” it to other organizations or stakeholders via quantum entanglement, where it never exists. No chance of hacking.

This could have huge implications for the DeFi community, as the idea of ​​“owning” data could be turned on its head by a model where access is inextricably limited to interlocking nodes. In this way, it is possible to secure digital assets such as cryptocurrencies against all forms of network-based attacks.

Related: QANplatform launches the world’s first EVM-compatible quantum-resistant testnet

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