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Science for Security

Making the (digital) world a safer place

From the dawn of time, security has been an issue for mankind. As technology pervades our everyday lives and the Internet of Things draws near, the challenge of providing physical, digital, economic and social security has become more complex and high-tech than ever before. The potential for nanotechnology-based security solutions is huge.

Quantum cryptography and Quantum Secure Authentication

New communication, encryption and authentication techniques are vying for attention, for instance quantum cryptography and a more recent MESA+ discovery related to so-called Quantum Secure Authentication. The technologies involved are also important for biometry and forensic science.

Quantum Secure Authentication has the potential to deliver identification cards, bank cards and key cards, that will be impossible to hack. The magnetic strip that used to be on bank cards has been replaced with a chip with a small microprocessor and a secret code – but the chip can still be copied and hackers have managed to discover the code. Quantum-secure authentication offers the possibility of hack-proof cards: even a hacker or thief who has all the necessary information at his or her disposal, including the complete structure of the card, will not be able to crack the key. According to Prof. Dr Pepijn Pinkse, who leads the research, it is a unique way to provide security suitable for, say, (government) buildings, bank cards, credit cards, identification cards and cars. ‘The best thing about Quantum Secure Authentication (QSA) is that it does not rely on secrets. So there is no secret information to be filched either.’ 

MESA+ has applied for a patent on this new technology that is unique in the world.