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Optical circuit to revolutionise net security

17 February, 2014

A new optical circuit could make internet communication secure from increasingly sophisticated hacking attacks, a Sydney physicist says.

Matthew Collins, a PhD student at The University of Sydney, has developed an optical circuit that creates a secure communication link, which can detect any online eavesdroppers.

"People have become reliant on internet security for almost everything they do online, including emails, shopping and business/bank transactions, but new technologies are continually developed that could be used for hacking," Collins said.

"Our invention uses quantum physics to guarantee that any message sent can't be listened to without us knowing about it."

The technology will be compatible with fibre optics, which make up the bulk of modern internet infrastructure, including the NBN network.

About $8 trillion exchanges hands each year via e-commerce. In 2011 the number of US companies that reported being hacked was 20 per cent, up from 7 per cent in 2007.

These attacks cost hundreds of millions of dollars to developed economies, as well as other impacts including legal action and eroded trust in the companies who are hacking victims.

"With rapid technology developments threatening our online privacy, new ways of securing our communications will become vitally important in the future," Collins said.

"The next step is for us to take our millimetre-sized optical circuit into the field and test it within the real network. We can then start developing a product that may one day secure the internet for everyone in Australia."

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