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Development of New Cryptography Communications Technology to Block Wiretapping

Development of New Cryptography Communications Technology to Block Wiretapping

Posted August. 09, 2005 03:07,   


Korean researchers have developed new cryptography communications technology which makes wiretapping impossible in the first place.

On August 8, a research team led by professor Moon Seong-wook of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced that they developed a “quantum cryptography communications system” that transmits data on photons (individual particles of light).

The research team explained that “the reason for the technology’s ability to fundamentally block wiretapping is because of the applied principle of quantum mechanics, a kind of physics.”

In quantum mechanics, even an attempt by a third person to observe a photon, except for the people exchanging data, changes the nature of the photon.

The quantum cryptography system applies the above principle and catches bugging by changing the nature of photon when someone tries to eavesdrop on the contents of the communication.

So far, the cryptography system used to block bugging is a method in which it encodes communication information that makes it impossible for an eavesdropping person to understand it, even if he or she succeeds in overhearing it. However, there was no technology in use that detects the activity of wiretapping.

Professor Moon stated, “It’s not perfect because all the current cryptography systems can be decoded once a highly efficient computer is developed in the future,” and explained that wiretapping can be fundamentally blocked only when an attempt itself to bug is detected.

However, the quantum cryptography system still has its own limits. A communication method using photons is in essential need of a wire communications system that is capable of transmitting light, which makes the quantum cryptography system inapplicable to the radio communication of mobile phones.

KIST forecasted that the quantum cryptography system will be first utilized for the communication network between national institutions dealing with confidential information, transactions between banks and internal communication networks within a company, which have to block the risk of being hacked.

Sang-Hoon Kim Do-Young Kim sanhkim@donga.com nirvana1@donga.com