simulation-toolkit-to-ensure-safety-in-secure-quantum-communication-platforms-summary

Context: To ensure safety in secure quantum communication platforms, researchers from Raman Research Institute (RRI) have come up with a unique simulation toolkit for end-to-end Quantum Key Distribution(QKD) simulation named as ‘qkdSim’.

More on the news:

  • The toolkit developed by the RRI , an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, is based on modular principles that allow it to be grown to different classes of protocols using various underpinning technologies. 
  • The research led by Indian scientists in collaboration with Canada is a part of the Quantum Experiments using Satellite Technology (QuEST) project.
    • QuEST is  India’s first satellite-based secure quantum communication effort, supported by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 

Background:

  • The recent advisories by the Ministry of Home Affairs have highlighted the increasing need for measures to ensure security in the virtual world as Covid-19 confines most day to day activities to the digital space.

About QKD: 

  • The secure part of any information transfer protocol is in the distribution of the key used to encrypt and decrypt the messages. 
  • Such standard key distribution schemes, usually based on mathematical resolution of problems, are vulnerable to algorithmic breakthroughs and the possibility to run new codes on the up and coming quantum computers. 
  • The solution to ensuring the security of the key transfer process lies in using the laws of quantum physics, wherein any eavesdropping activity will leave tell-tale signs and hence will be easily detected. 
  • This is achieved by using Quantum Key Distribution or QKD.
  • Secure error free communication protocols are assuming extraordinary importance for which Quantum key distribution (QKD) is an attractive solution, which relies on a cryptographic protocol.

About the toolkit - qkdSim:

  • The novelty of the toolkit lies in its exhaustive inclusion of different experimental imperfections, both device-based as well as process-based. 
  • Thus their simulation results will match with actual experimental implementations to much better accuracy than any other existing toolkit, making it a QKD experimenter’s best friend.
  • A shared random secret key known only to the communicating parties is employed to encrypt and decrypt messages. 
    • A unique property of quantum key distribution is that any break in attempt by an unauthorized party is immediately detected. 
  • It will be indispensable to design, set up, optimize, and evaluate experiments for demonstrating QKD and will engender further development to broaden the simulation tool’s applicability. 

With the advent of the upcoming National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications, this work provides the bedrock for such developments in the country and hence will be of great interest.

Quantum communication 

  • It is a field of applied quantum physics closely related to quantum information processing and quantum teleportation and uses subatomic particles to securely communicate between two points. 
  • These subatomic particles are mainly quantum entanglement of photons
  • It ensures that nobody taps into the line as a photon can be neither separated nor duplicated. 
  • In case the intruder (hacker) tries to crack the message in Quantum communication, it will change its form in a way that would alert the sender and cause the message to be altered or deleted. 
  • Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security communication, as tapping the network will inevitably corrupt the signal. 
  • Micius: China had successfully launched the world’s first quantum satellite in 2016, dubbed as Quantum Experiments at Space Scaler (QUESS) satellite (Nickname - Micius). 
    • It provides the world's longest super-secure quantum communication line connecting Hefei, capital of Anhui province to Shanghai, the country’s financial hub.

National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications

Image source: dst.gov.in

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