Monday, February 07, 2005

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle Applied

Quantum encryption!

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, it's impossible to observe the position and momentum of a particle without affecting the said position and momentum of the particle. So this company has an encryption technique that utilizes the principle to essentially make an encryption method that is uncrackable (in theory anyway). The data is encrypted into a series of photons, which are then streamed to their intended destination and decrypted. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle comes into play when eavesdroppers attempt to eavesdrop on the data stream and decrypt it. The fact that the photons get disturbed somehow keeps a hacker (or cracker for those of the stingy hacker elite) from illegitimately getting to the actual data.

While my understanding of quantum mechanics is far from expert-level, it did seem to me that Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle presented some restrictions on what we could do with quantum physics (mind you, some discussions with some physicists resolved many of my questions). But this is quite interesting because what traditionally seemed like a disadvantage (at least to my feeble mind) has been utilized as an advantage. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is useful. I'm sure there are other applications for the principle as well, and any physicists reading this blog must be chuckling pretty heartily. Allow me my simple pleasures. :)

But even if quantum encryption is truly uncrackable, this quote really raises an important point:
"Security is a chain; it's only as strong as the weakest link. Currently encryption is the strongest link we have. Everything else is worse: software, networks, people. There's absolutely no value in taking the strongest link and making it even stronger," Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Counterpane Internet Security, wrote in an e-mail to CNET News.com on quantum cryptography in general.
But after working a summer in tech support, you realize that there's no cure for the stupidity inherent in many computer users.

I found out through Sara that I'm an INTP. Fairly accurate. Dang.

1 comment:

  1. I'm an INTJ - and yeah, they are surprisingly accurate...

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