Unhackable Chinese Communication Network Launches Soon

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unhackable chinese communication network
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As numerous hacking and security breach incidents are making headlines around the world, China is preparing to launch the first hack-proof communication network.

In a bid to protect the country’s state secrets from prying eyes, China has built what seems to be the largest ‘unhackable’ computer network in the world.

According to reports, the said communication system will ensure that all government files, including military, financial and other confidential information, will be kept safe–something that has plagued other countries lately.

The Chinese project is being carried out in Jinan, found in China’s eastern province of Shandong, and is being hailed by state media as a technological milestone for the country.

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The project, spearheaded by Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology, aims to help around 200 users coming from different government branches and the military by providing a safe communication network. In an interview with Financial TimesZhou Fei, assistant director of Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology, said:

We plan to use the network for national defense, finance, and other fields, and hope to spread it out as a pilot that if successful, can be used across China and the whole world.

China’s Solution to Hacking: Quantum Cryptography

The communication network will make use of quantum key distribution or quantum cryptography, which is a far cry from the typical network encryption methods today.

A traditional encryption method works by hiding the key needed to read the message in the form of difficult mathematical problem. The difficulty of the problem will require fast thinking to figure out the solution while trying endless combinations of apparently long, numeric keys.

China's CAS-Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory established in July 2015
China’s CAS-Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory established in July 2015 | File photo CC en.people.cn

In today’s world, it means someone must have a powerful computer to break through encryption. Hackers today are equipped with powerful computers and are capable of accessing confidential data, stealing funds, and conducting other cyber criminal acts.

If that is not enough to alarm governments, consider that data encryption has a time limit which makes it unstable and vulnerable to attacks.

Because of these vulnerabilities, Chinese researchers turned to quantum computing to secure government communication networks.

A Jinan quantum computer works by generating and transmitting first the key needed to decode and read the message. After that, the encrypted message will be sent.

Both the key and data are being sent in particles of light, which immediately gets distorted or destroyed when someone tries to tamper them. Therefore, any attempt at hacking will be noticeable to both the sender and receiver.

This technology will allow government workers in the city to send messages across a 125 mile (200km) long network without the fear of having the messages intercepted by cyber eavesdroppers.

According to Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology, the new technology has been successfully tested earlier this month. The network passed more than 50 tests and transmitted data with quantum keys among 200 terminals in the city during the test. It is expected to be put into commercial use in August this year.

Right now, a larger 1,250 mile (2,000km) long fibre-optic link from Beijing to Shanghai is being developed by QuantumCTek based in eastern China’s Hefei. In a statement to The Register, its CEO, Yong Zhao said:

“We think our tech is secure right now. Why do we wait until quantum computers can break classical cryptography? We know there’s no back door.”

China Daily reported that the new Jinan network is said to cost China over $19 million USD to develop and has the capability to encrypt 4,000 pieces of data a second.

Should other governments follow suit and turn to quantum computers to prevent cyber criminals from stealing classified information?

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