Unhackable Internet Looks to Break Through as US Government, Among Others, Tries to Develop It

By Thomas Price Monday, December 14, 2020

One of the major issues facing so much of this current age of information is how one can find a balance between using the services offered while also trying to maintain privacy from potential threats. This becomes especially pertinent when dealing with something as open and vast as the internet. With the potential for someone hacking information on a user being very real in the modern age, cybersecurity has grown as a major industry to try and combat it from happening. However, it may not be nearly as large in the future if the current development in a so-called unhackable internet truly happens. So, what exactly is an unhackable internet, and is it going to be used by anyone anytime soon?

What Is an Unhackable Internet?

Broken down into its most basic elements, an unhackable internet would essentially be an internet that somehow uses quantum physics to ensure secure connections between parties. In this case, the actual application of quantum physics comes from the recently achieved ability to transmit pairs of photons over fiber optic cables in such a manner that outside attempts to steal or even access that information on the photons is virtually impossible to do. This entire process relies heavily on the quantum behavior of atomic particles. This behavior is called entanglement. In this situation, the entangled nature of the photons prevents someone from being able to access the information being sent without completely disrupting the information itself.

However, one of the larger drawbacks of the new technology is the relative difficulty of creating and then transmitting entangled particles over long distances that would be required to truly create a network of unhackable internet. As it currently stands, the unhackable internet range sits at a distance of around 1.5 kilometers; however, clear plans have been made for longer transmission. Considering the possible applications of such a secure technology, many different groups have been very interested in developing and using it for certain specific industries.

Interest in Unhackable Internet From Multiple Sources

Security has become a larger and larger point of focus for so many industries. In fact, due to the constant concerns over it, the cybersecurity industry has exploded in response. In fact, due to how widespread fears over maintaining privacy and protecting data are, the cybersecurity industry has ballooned to around $173 billion. Unhackable internet would drastically change that. While the technology was originally being developed in the Netherlands by scientists hoping to connect the two cities of Delft and Hague, major global governments soon saw the potential in the technology and began development as well. This has led to announcements from the United States Department of Energy revealing plans to have a working prototype for large-scale unhackable internet within the next ten years. While plans are in place, these places are not to replace nationwide internet coverage or anything of the sort. Instead, the government intends to create an entirely new network specifically for industries where secure transmission would be of even higher priority, such as finance or healthcare. The Netherlands nor the United States are alone in their pursuit either.

In fact, a 1,263-mile quantum link between Beijing and Shanghai in China already exists — a completely gargantuan effort by the nation to undertake successfully. However, within that major quantum link, certain issues remain. While certainly much longer than any other attempt so far, the quantum link between the two cities continues to rely on classical components which will break the quantum link before having to then establish a new one, leaving the connection vulnerable and basically defeating the purpose of the technology in the first place. However, the clear effort and resources being put into creating this technology speaks volumes.

Final Conclusions

The idea of an unhackable internet is very real, and in fact, quite doable under the right circumstances. However, while this may be true, the difficulty of doing so on a large scale continues to be a major obstacle in the road toward development. While many different nations are putting serious money and time behind creating these quantum links, the practical applications of it for businesses and consumers may still be many years off from being seen.

About the Author

Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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