Chinese scientists propose world's first secure quantum solution for e-commerce

2024-01-18 08:57:02Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A Chinese research team proposed a new quantum e-commerce strategy, presenting a promising solution for providing information-theoretic security for e-commerce.

The technology could integrate quantum technology with e-commerce and is expected to introduce new transaction and security measures to the country's e-commerce, valued at 40 trillion yuan ($5.56 trillion) in China.

"This is the first time in the world that a quantum solution for e-commerce has been proposed, demonstrating unconditional security in e-commerce trading," Yin Hualei, associate professor from Renmin University of China, told Global Times on Wednesday.

Classical encryption algorithms rely on computational complexity, which are vulnerable to hackers. However, quantum cryptography provides enhanced security based on quantum mechanics, making it immune to attacks, said Yin.

Researchers from Nanjing University and Renmin University of China, led by professor Chen Zengbing and Yin Hualei, utilized quantum digital signatures as a foundational technology. They constructed a secure quantum e-commerce protocol that generates correlated bit strings among remote parties for signatures via quantum law.

Their research, which was published on Saturday in the journal 'Science Advances', enabled the world's first five-user online trading in an experiment, provided a potentially ideal approach to address all elements of information security and achieve unconditional security for digital payments.

The technology achieved breakthroughs in authenticity, integrity, and non-repudiation, providing a tool that simultaneously addresses the three aspects of information security. It is expected to be applied in new-generation technology scenarios such as digital currencies, e-government, and blockchain, ensuring high-speed, secure, and sustainable development of the digital economy, Yin said.

Authenticity, integrity, and non-repudiation correspond to three major cryptographic requirements, which cannot be directly achieved by sharing the same key between users through quantum key distribution (QKD). The new technology uses quantum signatures to achieve the requirements through the one-way characteristics of universal hashing, the asymmetric characteristics of secret sharing, and privacy features of quantum, Yin said.

E-commerce is rapidly evolving in China, as the country's total e-commerce transactions had increased from 31.63 trillion yuan in 2018 to 43.83 trillion yuan in 2022, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The quantum solution is expected to provide a more reliable and feasible quantum encryption method for the extensive market, ensuring transaction security in the face of potential quantum computing hacks.

Several commercial entities have used quantum encryption methods on smart devices. For instance, SK Telecom, a South Korean telecom service provider, had developed smartphone Galaxy Quantum series with quantum encryption technology in collaboration with Samsung. Previously, the company announced that it had successfully applied QKD on IP devices and completed the development of a quantum virtual private network technology.

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