"Eventually quantum will render PKI obsolete," said Gareth Simkins, technologist at Now Wireless. "I can't say exactly when it will happen, but it will happen somewhere in-between next week and next century. Probably closer to next week."
It is impossible to crack quantum encrypted data without disturbing the data itself, thus creating a secure method of data transfer. The technology uses light particles that change when observed and travel along optical fibre networks.
But the system is not without its flaws, as SC's technology editor Jon Tullett explained.
"Quantum encryption is a powerful way to exchange keys which can then be used for regular crypto. But as it requires dedicated optical networks with some specific limitations, quantum key exchange is somewhat limited in application," he said. "It is not going to bring about a panacea of ubiquitous network encryption, but it will be a useful tool for securing networks for vertical markets like financials, military or government."
As such Now Wireless claim the technology has already garnered some interest from Government sources and large firms overseas. "It's really the way forward for anyone holding and transferring high intellectual property," said Simkins.