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Development of a Global Network for Secure Communication based on Quantum Cryptography

Project description

Towards a global dependability and security framework Protecting personal data with the laws of physics

Cryptographic technology underpins most data security, allowing banks, governments, companies and individual citizens to exchange information securely. But advances in computing power are making traditional cryptographic techniques less secure, potentially exposing personal data to criminals.

The answer, say researchers working in the SECOQC project, lies in a new generation of cryptography using quantum mechanics to protect the data. While classical cryptography employs mathematical techniques to encrypt messages, quantum cryptography uses the laws of physics to protect the information.

Modern cryptography relies on the use of digital ‘keys’ to encrypt data before sending it over a network, and to decrypt it at the other end. The receiver must have a version of the key code used by the sender in order to decrypt and access the data.

However, as computer-processing power has increased in recent years, criminals have found it increasingly easy to crack cryptographic keys.

The 512-bit RSA public-key cryptosystem, developed in 1977, can now be broken by university students in a matter of months and even more advanced encryption methods may not be secure for long.

‘Unbreakable’ light

Meanwhile, quantum cryptography makes use of the properties of light to underpin a method of encryption that is theoretically unbreakable.

Typically, a sending optical device puts photons into a particular state, which is then observed by a receiving device at the other end of a fibre-optic connection. Since it is impossible to intercept a light transmission without changing it, important information can be exchanged with great security.

The team behind the SECOQC project set out to design and validate a network for dependable and secure long-range communication built upon quantum key distribution (QKD) technology.

Toward securer communications networks

Combining the expertise of quantum physicists, network specialists and experts in the fields of cryptography, electronics, IT security, and software development, the team developed devices to generate keys and built the technological architecture to share them over a fibre-optic network.

Their goal is to provide citizens, companies and public institutions with an efficient means of improving security standards in electronic communication and data exchange via public channels.

This could lead to a quantum communications network similar to the then nascent internet network in the United States back in the 1970s.

The world’s first quantum bank transfer

In the course of the project, the technology was used to perform the world’s first-ever bank transfer using quantum cryptography by sending €3 000 over a 1.45-km fibre-optic link between Vienna City Hall and the headquarters of Bank-Austria Creditanstalt.

In October 2007, it was also used to provide a secure line for counting votes cast in Geneva in the Swiss national elections, marking the first real-world use of the technology.

One of the project partners, id Quantique, a spin-off company from the University of Geneva, is now working on deploying a quantum communications network in Geneva, known as SwissQuantum.

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-IST-1
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

IP - Integrated Project

Coordinator

AIT AUSTRIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY GMBH
Address
Giefinggasse 4
1210 Wien
Austria
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 2 239 261

Participants (46)

UNIVERSITAET KLAGENFURT
Austria
EU contribution
€ 60 200
Address
Universitaetsstrasse 65-67
9020 Klagenfurt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITAT WIEN
Austria
EU contribution
€ 451 500
Address
Universitatsring 1
1010 Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITAET KLAGENFURT
Austria
EU contribution
€ 138 635
Address
Universitaetsstrasse 65-67
9020 Klagenfurt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
STEINBEIS TECHNOLOGIETRANSFER GMBH
Austria
EU contribution
€ 9 975
Address
Am Heumarkt 7/14
1030 Wien
Activity type
Other
AVENTEC HANDELS, PRODUKTIONS- UND BERATUNGSGESELLSCHAFT MBH

Participation ended

Austria
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
8 - Mai-strasse 5/1
9020 Klagenfurt
Activity type
Other
SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT OESTERREICH
Austria
EU contribution
€ 220 000
Address
Siemensstrasse 90
1210 Wien
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
BEARINGPOINT INFONOVA GMBH
Austria
EU contribution
€ 240 000
Address
Am Seering 6
8141 Unterpremstaetten
Activity type
Other
ARC SEIBERSDORF RESEARCH GMBH

Participation ended

Austria
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Kramergasse 1
1010 Wien
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNIVERSITE LIBRE DE BRUXELLES
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 230 000
Address
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50
1050 Bruxelles
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITE DE LAUSANNE
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 394 200
Address
Quartier Unil-centre Bâtiment Unicentre
1015 Lausanne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITE DE GENEVE
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 723 000
Address
Rue Du General Dufour 24
1211 Geneve
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
ID QUANTIQUE SA
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 577 500
Address
Chemin De La Marbrerie 3 Garouge
1227 Carouge Geneve
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
UNIVERZITA PALACKEHO V OLOMOUCI
Czechia
EU contribution
€ 102 000
Address
Krizkovskeho 8
771 47 Olomouc
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
ERNST & YOUNG AG WIRTSCHAFTSPRUEFUNGSGESELLSCHAFT
Germany
EU contribution
€ 140 000
Address
Mittlerer Pfad 15
70499 Stuttgart
Activity type
Other
HEINRICH-HEINE-UNIVERSITAET DUESSELDORF
Germany
EU contribution
€ 111 000
Address
Universitaetsstrasse 1
40225 Dusseldorf
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITAET KARLSRUHE (TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE)
Germany
EU contribution
€ 65 000
Address
Kaiserstrasse
76131 Karlsruhe
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT DARMSTADT
Germany
EU contribution
€ 139 000
Address
Karolinenplatz 5
64289 Darmstadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
LUDWIG-MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Germany
EU contribution
€ 411 750
Address
Geschwister Scholl Platz 1
80539 Muenchen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
FRIEDRICH-ALEXANDER-UNIVERSITAT ERLANGEN NURNBERG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 258 000
Address
Schlossplatz 4
91054 Erlangen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
FRIEDRICH-ALEXANDER-UNIVERSITAET ERLANGEN-NUERNBERG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 187 500
Address
Schlossplatz 4
91054 Erlangen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ UNIVERSITAET HANNOVER

Participation ended

Germany
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Welfengarten 1
30167 Hannover
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
KOBENHAVNS UNIVERSITET
Denmark
EU contribution
€ 207 000
Address
Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
AARHUS UNIVERSITET
Denmark
EU contribution
€ 295 000
Address
Nordre Ringgade 1
8000 Aarhus C
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
EU contribution
€ 285 000
Address
3, Rue Michel-ange
75794 Paris Cedex 16
Activity type
Research Organisations
THALES SIX GTS FRANCE SAS
France
EU contribution
€ 116 000
Address
Avenue Des Louvresses 4
92230 Gennevilliers
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
France
EU contribution
€ 180 000
Address
Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
THALES
France
EU contribution
€ 345 000
Address
Tour Carpe Diem Place Des Corolles Esplanade Nord
92400 Courbevoie
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
INSTITUT MINES-TELECOM
France
EU contribution
€ 421 200
Address
19 Place Marguerite Perey
91120 Palaiseau
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
POLITECNICO DI MILANO
Italy
EU contribution
€ 135 000
Address
Piazza Leonardo Da Vinci 32
20133 Milano
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
SCUOLA NORMALE SUPERIORE
Italy
EU contribution
€ 264 000
Address
Piazza Dei Cavalieri 7
56126 Pisa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PAVIA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 93 000
Address
Strada Nuova 65
27100 Pavia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Italy
EU contribution
€ 135 000
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
BIOMETRIC TECHNOLOGIES
Russia
EU contribution
€ 117 250
Address
Mosfilmovskaya Street, 17B
119330 Moscow
Activity type
Other
KUNGLIGA TEKNISKA HOEGSKOLAN
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 310 000
Address
Brinellvagen 8
100 44 Stockholm
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
QINETIQ LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 35 083
Address
Cody Technology Park Ively Road
GU14 0LX Farnborough
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 321 500
Address
Beacon House Queens Road
BS8 1QU Bristol
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
TOSHIBA EUROPE LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 512 000
Address
1 St Floor 3 Furzeground Way Stockl Cambridge Science Park
UB11 1EZ Uxbridge
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 117 708
Address
Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARSOF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 264 000
Address
Trinity Lane The Old Schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 90 000
Address
Firth Court Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 135 000
Address
Riccarton
EH14 4AS Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
HEWLETT-PACKARD LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 48 750
Address
Cain Road
RG12 1HN Bracknell
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
TO BE DEFINED
EU contribution
€ 226 171
INSTITUT D'OPTIQUE THEORIQUE ET APPLIQUEE IOTA - SUPOPTIQUE
France
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Avenue Augustin Fresnel - Campus Polytechnique - Rd 128 2
91120 Palaiseau
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITE DE NICE SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS
France
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Avenue Valrose 28 Grand Chateau
06100 Nice
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITE PARIS-SUD
France
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Rue Georges Clemenceau 15
91405 Orsay Cedex
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments