Quantum Cryptography Definition & Meaning

Quantum cryptography is the application of quantum mechanics principles to encryption to better secure connections between two parties. It gained traction in the 1980s when Charles Bennett and Gilles Brassard introduced their quantum key distribution protocol, called BB84. Quantum key distribution uses subatomic light particles – photons – as a means of choosing a secret encryption key. Before generating the key, the two parties must interact and authenticate their identities. Then photons are sent across a cable and are randomly divided by a beam splitter. The remaining photons determine the key, which is now known only to the communicating parties.

Quantum key distribution should be used with other encryption practices for best possible security. It has failed before, but that was due to faulty implementation rather than the principles of quantum mechanics, which are reliable and consistent.

Mistrustful quantum cryptography uses different methods of creating an encrypted connection, such as coin flipping and oblivious transfer. The two parties don’t trust each other, which increases the likelihood of cheating, and it’s typically impossible to create unconditional security. Methods of mistrustful quantum cryptography should be used with other encryption methods.

The benefit of quantum cryptography is its security. Because the connection between the two parties is established using photons, any attempted breach will clearly disturb the photons. Those parties will notice anyone attempting to eavesdrop or interrupt the communication. A cryptographic connection established by physics is more secure than other encryption protocols; its security can be proven through physics principles.






Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for websites such as Webopedia.com and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.

Top Articles

The Complete List of Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Creating a desktop...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

By Vangie Beal Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services that could be accessed from any web browser. Since 2011, Hotmail, in terms...

Data Corruption Definition &...

Data corruption is the process of data becoming unreadable or invalid. It typically...

Subschema Definition & Meaning

A subschema is a database view that filters or organizes all data to...

Fileless Malware Meaning &...

Fileless malware is a type of malicious software that uses legitimate applications already...