01 Nov 2021

Quantum and Security: Protecting our future

Written by Markus Pflitsch, Co-Founder and Chairman, Terra Quantum

Classical encrypted data will one day be decipherable using quantum computers, resulting in our private information being completely susceptible to hackers. From our banking details to our health records, classical encryption will become useless when trying to secure some of the most sensitive information in our lives.

Organisations that harvest data are conscious of this as they gather encrypted data with no means of deciphering it currently. As soon as quantum computers become of adequate scale, these organisations will be sitting on a treasure trove of information, the encryption of which they will finally be able to crack. Keeping this in mind, establishing a decentralized security of social platforms and networks should be a key priority to ensure our communications are safe.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a secure and all-encompassing method to guard communication of sensitive information. As described by Karan Pinto, Head of Growth at Terra Quantum, “QKD enables unconditional security and quantum safe communications. Users in communication with one another can detect if a third party is trying to acquire knowledge of the key.”

“This enables communication parties to adapt communication to so that even the most powerful quantum computer wouldn’t decipher communications secured through QKD. This is because the level of security does not rely on solving complex mathematics equations. Instead, the encryption and ability to detect threats leverages quantum mechanics.”

Nevertheless, the advantages of existing QKD methods have been restricted by the limitations in their application, due to the widespread belief that QKD must rely on having an authenticated classical channel of communications and that collecting scattered signal still enables the hacker to decipher the message. This results in short transmission distances of less than 1000km.

Trust must also be vested in the equipment intermediaries operate to facilitate transmission. Therefore, signal amplifiers and other particular points along the line are vulnerable to interception and local rerouting.

Marking a significant shift in the paradigm of using the QKD, the method developed by Terra Quantum guarantees uncompromisable security. The innovative protocol on the physical control of the information transmission line builds on quantum mechanics’ core principle of discreteness of the signal.

Using the quantum discreteness of the signal being propagated, we can facilitate full security against interceptions and hacks at the intermediate points of communication lines. Crucially, Terra Quantum’s protocol does not require any upgrades to existing telecoms optical fiber infrastructure, nor does it need “trusted nodes”. Transmission across global distances is possible through Terra Quantum’s QKD method.

As Terra Quantum’s Director of Strategy, Vishal Shete notes, “Our QKD method is already scalable and does not require significant resources for adoption. We’re already working with financial institutions and telecoms companies, deploying our QKD protocol to secure their networks. Securing communications for 5G & wireless devices using quantum cryptography has also been a keen interest of our customers.”


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Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK

Laura is techUK’s Head of Programme for Technology and Innovation.

She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies, including Quantum Computing, High-Performance Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies, across the UK. As part of this, she works alongside techUK members and UK Government to champion long-term and sustainable innovation policy that will ensure the UK is a pioneer in science and technology

Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.

Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.

[email protected]

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