ATCA 5000: COLD WAR 2.0 -- The Super-Secure Great Firewall of China
Is Quantum Cryptography The New Enigma Code or The Launch of The New Space Race?
London, UK - 5th November 2014, 08:45 GMT
1. Imagine an encryption more "hack proof" than Hitler's Enigma code. One that even a genius like Alan Turing would not be able to hack! Welcome to Quantum Cryptography in the 21st century where quantum entangled photons are utilised to transmit and to receive messages super securely.
The Super-Secure Great Firewall of China?
2. China is set to launch the world's longest hacker-proof quantum communication network stretching 2,000km from Beijing to Shanghai by 2016. Can the Western democracies allow non-democratic China -- with the unproven Hong Kong litmus test -- to leapfrog their competitive advantage and build the equivalent of the Great Wall in Cyberspace unencumbered or is this soon going to be dismissed as another "Maginot Line" in Washington DC, London and Berlin? Does The Great Firewall mean the American NSA and CIA and the British GCHQ will have to come up with better ways of spying in the near future?
3. Edward Snowden's revelations last year in regard to the National Security Agency (NSA) that the US was targeting internet-based "network backbones" -- through which huge amounts of data are transmitted -- convinced Chinese leaders that developing the next generation of internet infrastructure is a priority for their central government, military and critical businesses including their financial institutions such as banks;
4. Beijing is also going to launch the world's first quantum communication satellite in 2016. Governments in Europe, Japan and Canada are also about to launch their own quantum communication satellite projects and a private company in the US has been seeking funding from the federal government with a proposal for a 10,000km secure quantum network linking major cities;
5. China is the first major global power to come up with a detailed schedule to put Quantum Technology 2.0 (QT2) into extensive, large-scale use. China seeks to achieve Asia-Europe intercontinental quantum key distribution by 2020. By 2030, the Chinese ultra secure quantum network is going to be extended worldwide;
6. If we haven't already, get ready to learn even more about the superposition of quantum states, wave function collapse and density matrix formulation of quantum entanglement;
7. Prof Pan Jianwei, quantum physicist with the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), the lead scientist of the national quantum communication project, has revealed China's ambitious targets. Prof Pan's team conducted the world's first experiment on quantum key distribution from a satellite last year. Chen Yuxiang, quantum physicist also with USTC, chief engineer for the construction of the Beijing-Shanghai link, says key infrastructure is to be completed between the end of the year (2014) and next summer (2015); and
8. Quantum communication networks are unbreakable, at least in theory. Any attempt to intercept the encryption key alters the physical status of the quantum data, or Qubits, and triggers an alert to the communicators. Though the technology was proposed by IBM scientists as early as the 1980s, quantum communication has been limited to short distances due to the technological difficulty in maintaining the Qubit's fragile quantum state, such as spin, over a long distance.
China has become the de facto front runner in global strategic cyber defence by seeking to launch its Super-Secure unbreakable Quantum Network in 2016. China's Great Firewall revelations have certainly thrown the cat amongst the pigeons. The technology of metropolitan quantum communication is basically mature, but in order to achieve worldwide secure quantum communications, quantum communication satellites are a necessary step. What happens next is of enormous geo-strategic interest given that it alters the balance of global power in the fifth dimension of cyberspace forever.
What are your thoughts, observations and views? We are keen to listen and to learn.
D K Matai
ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats
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