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EMAILED ON January 22, 2018 BY Lindsey Quinn

How do we stop quantum computers from cracking every encryption on the planet?

With quantum encryption, of course. Researchers from China and Austria conducted the first “quantum-encrypted” video chat last fall — and on Friday, they finally revealed how they did it.

Turns out, it only takes 3 things to stream the most secure video in existence:

  1. Optical fiber
  2. A few encryption algorithms
  3. A $100m Chinese satellite designed for “quantum cryptography”

Ok that all sounded doable until the last part…

“Explain quantum encryption like I’m 5”

Put simply, quantum encryption uses the properties of small particles to secure information.

In this case, the scientists used light particles (photons) to create a kind of subatomic “decoder ring.”

Each light particle is polarized in a specific direction to represent a 0 or 1, creating a key that allows the sender to shoot a coded beam of light, which the recipient can then unscramble on the other end, provided they also have the key.

(Have fun whipping out that explanation at your next dinner party. Yawelcome.)

“So… why does it matter?’

Because quantum computers are coming, able to perform calculations at speeds today’s motherboards could only dream of. And when they get here, even our best encryption tech won’t stand a chance.

That’s why banks and governments in the US, China, and Switzerland are testing their own quantum encryption products, while private companies like Quantum Circuits have raised millions to develop quantum technology and compete with the likes of Google, IBM, and Intel.

Essentially, this crazy light-beam security is a line of defense against the supercomputers of the future.

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