Multi-factor verification adds an extra layer of authentication to gain access to your data, but for hackers, that just amounts to an extra layer to bypass – a bump in the road. A new type of verification, quantum authentication, doesn’t just add an extra layer, but is nearly impossible to crack from the start.
The main problem with multi-factor authentication is that it’s easy to bypass once the authentication data is obtained – perhaps through social engineering to discover the answers to security questions, or stealing a phone and using someone’s authenticator app.
Created by a team of researchers in the Netherlands, the new type of verification – dubbed Quantum-Secure Authentication – uses the quantum attributes of light to identify a pattern through an exchange of data that cannot be faked.
Using a special surface that contains millions of nanoparticles, the researchers suggest shooting photons between the nanoparticles using a laser, bouncing them between those nanoparticles until they create an authentication pattern.
Since a photon can be in multiple places at once, observing the pattern wouldn’t reveal the “Correct” photons, and instead would display too many points of data.
You wouldn’t be able to figure out which impacts were from the original balls just by picking them up, and due to the quantum nature of photons, you couldn’t see from where they were dropped.
If the researchers are right the technology could be used in just about any authentication scenario, from credit cards to car keys, and it uses inexpensive technology to “Print” the photons like lasers and projectors.