How laser communication shapes the future of data security

Laser Communication QKD Security

deJust a few years ago, “information security” was a topic best known from dystopian Hollywood thrillers, in which dark-dressed hackers in even darker basements could gain access to almost any network in just a few simple steps. At that time, the gap between fiction and reality was still dramatically big, but today, in the middle of the fifth industrial revolution, it became nearly a daily routine. But despite any’s better judgement and knowing, the current top passwords still are "12345678", "password", "111111" and "Abc123".

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© Unsplash, Bermix Studio

This may not be the case for securing company networks; these are of course secured in a much more sophisticated way – with the help of demilitarized zones, firewalls and shielded server banks. Yet, despite all security precautions and measures, information has to leave the company network from time to time, be it in an e-mail to a customer or via data exchange or else. Therefore, only encryption helps to protect against unauthorized access – today almost standardly with up to 192-bit. An encryption method that today's supercomputers need years to crack. The emphasis here is on “today”, as the next computer (r)evolution is already in the starting blocks: quantum computers. In the eyes this new generation, even 256-bit encryption will be as secure as leaving the computer password on the monitor with a sticky note.

What does laser communication have to do with all of this?

The only real secure alternative will then be to encrypt data transmission and data with the help of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). This quantum cryptography encryption method uses the properties of quantum mechanics to provide two parties with a common random number that is not based on mathematical laws or alphanumeric relationships, but ultimately and solely on the physical properties of a quantum. Additional security arises from the fact that an attacker who tries to eavesdrop on the key transmission can be detected, whereupon the active key transmission is discarded and restarted.

The advantages of laser communication

The only technology that is currently able to exchange quantum keys and transfer data is laser communication technology using TESAT’s laser communication terminals (LCT). These by the way add a further level of security by the fact that, compared to satellite transmission via radio, the signal’s spread is way smaller, which makes it more difficult for attackers to position themselves within the transmission signal at the right time.

So, it can be said that TESAT's laser communication technology is the safest alternative to transmit data and that TESAT LCTs are already prepared for the dangers of tomorrow.

© Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG, 2020
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