China ready to launch the first hack proof quantum communication satellite

Pierluigi Paganini June 09, 2016

China is ready to launch its first hack proof quantum communication satellite, are we entering a new era of telecommunications.

Satellites have a crucial role in our digital society, almost every industry is benefiting from their services for this reason their security is a pillar of the cyber security strategy of governments worldwide.

Attackers are posing a growing challenge to satellite operators, more exposed are commercial satellites that lack the level of security for the military. Security researchers are warning about possible effects of a successful attack against satellite systems and are urging to building them with a security by design approach.

Governments consider realistic the threat of a cyber attack launched by a nation-state actor, a criminal organization and even by a lone hacker. The principal concerns are related to the operation conducted by Chinese hackers, likely state-sponsored attackers, that in the past have already breached the security of US satellites.

On the other side, the Chinese Government is spending a significant effort to design a new generation of hack proof quantum communication satellite.

The Quantum Communications Satellite implements encryption using the Quantum Entanglement.

According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), who drives the space program of the Chinese Government, the Chinese engineers will make the first test of the world’s first experimental quantum communication satellite in July.

The Chinese engineers spent at least five years in the design of the new technology and to manufacture the first hack proof quantum communication satellite.

230713-pleiades satellites

The experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences highlight that this new generation of satellites will be resilient to any kind of cyber attack, it will be impossible to intercept communications leveraging the new technology.

“It will be the first quantum communication through a satellite in the world,” said Pan Jianwei, professor with University of Science and Technology of China. Quantum technology is seen as a future cornerstone in field of technology. Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated.”

“It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it,” Pan added.

The CAS plans to launch a satellite and build a ground control infrastructure composed of four ground stations for quantum communication and one space quantum teleportation experiment station.

According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, the hack proof quantum communication satellite will be communicating through quantum optical links simultaneously with two ground bases thousands of kilometers apart on earth.

In the next days, the satellite will be moved to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, the Chinese Government plans to build a Quantum Sharing Network, which will be used for the internal communications among Defense agencies.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – hack proof quantum communication satellite, hacking)

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