The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced plans to build a ‘quantum internet’, which is will be virtually unhackable. Seventeen national labs will move the initiative forward.

Would a quantum internet eliminate the need for cyber security professionals?

Experts expect that the project’s prototype will be released within the next ten years. “…it is not intended as a direct replacement for the internet as we know it. Instead, it would run in parallel as a supplementary network for the banking and health industries as well as serving the national security interest,” reports Forbes.

Despite the DOE’s use of the phrase “virtually unhackable networks”, a quantum internet might not truly be unhackable. In theory, individuals or groups with malicious intent need not break into the system itself, but rather merely slip malware into a supply chain component. The use of quantum key distribution (QKD) will also present cyber security weak spots, as the switches and connection points may be of interest to hackers.

For the foreseeable future, there will be a continued need for cyber security professionals.

How would a quantum internet work?

A quantum internet would rely on entangled photons to transmit data across a fiber optic cable.

China has begun to experiment with this kind of thing via a 1,263 mile quantum link between Beijing and Shanghai. The U.S. currently has a 52 mile “quantum loop” coursing through the Chicago suburbs.

For the project to proceed as planned, scientists will need to create entirely new technologies, and to deeply probe possibilities within quantum mechanics.