DRDO develops quantum key know-how for safe communication

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 9

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed quantum key distribution (QKD) technology, that offers a robust solution of sharing encryption keys over the air or wired links for enabling secure communication.

The technology developed jointly by the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) and DRDO Young Scientist Laboratories – Quantum Technology (DYSL), the QKD technology was demonstrated successfully on Wednesday by carrying out secure communication between two DRDO laboratories.

CAIR is involved in research in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, command and control, networking, information and communication security whereas DYSL is part of five specialised research laboratories located in five different cities focused on artificial intelligence, quantum technology, cognitive technology, asymmetric technology and smart materials.

The trails also demonstrated the validation of detection of a third party trying to gain knowledge of the communication. Quantum based security against eavesdropping was validated for the deployed system at a range of over 12 km through fibre optic channel.

Secure communications are vital for defence and strategic agencies and distribution of encryption keys from time to time is an important requirement in this context.

Sharing of keys over the air or wired links requires encryption, which in turn requires the encryption keys to be pre-shared through a secure medium.

Laser-based technology and software have been developed for data acquisition, time synchronization, post-processing, determining quantum bit error rate and extracting other important parameters for the QKD to function.

The work being done at DRDO will be used to enable start-ups and SMEs in the domain of quantum information technologies.

It will also serve to define standards and crypto policies that can leverage the QKD system in a unified policy framework for more secure and pragmatic key management for current and future military cryptographic systems.

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