The proliferation of the Internet has transformed our lives. From managing our finances online to communicating with anyone on the globe in real time to even controlling the temperature our houses with a smartphone, what’s become routine for us was previously unimaginable.
But all of this innovation also comes with serious security concerns. Events like Target’s recent data breach—where in the sensitive data of up to 110 million customers was compromised—remind us of how important it is to make sure private information is protected.
Quantum Networks? What on Earth?
Thanks to a new breakthrough in quantum communications, however, such concerns about data security may become a thing of the past. Recently, a group of physicists based in Geneva completed studies relating to quantum teleportation—the theory that if a particle is augmented, another particle with which it is entangled will change similarly—which may be a harbinger of substantial advances in data security.
The physicists applied the theories of quantum teleportation to large-scale networks and successfully transmitted quantum information over fiber optics—cables through which standard Internet Protocol is transmitted—into a quantum memory device. Because it leverages existing infrastructure—the fiber optics—this experiment has large implications for developing quantum networks.
Data is transmitted as light through fiber optics, however, and the wavelengths required for that transmission differ from those necessary in quantum memory storage. But the research discovered that a particle could be transmitted via fiber optics and another quantum particle could be stored in the quantum memory.
The breakthrough is very promising for data security, though there’s a lot more work needed to be done before quantum teleportation can be successful outside of a lab environment. But as more and more sensitive data becomes available on the Internet, there’s one thing that’s certain: The need for that data to be formidably protected continues to rise.