Fujitsu SD-WAN and space station named first users of quantum security
Fujitsu and a company working with the International Space Station have been named as among the first users of Quantum Origin, what’s claimed to be the world’s first commercial product built using quantum computers.
Cambridge Quantum, which is now part of the US-UK group Quantinuum, says it can fit quantum-level security to existing networks, including software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) from Fujitsu, which has incorporated the technology into its products.
Duncan Jones, head of cyber security at Cambridge Quantum, said last night: “We are kick-starting the quantum cyber security industry.” He said the company “will start to distribute [quantum] keys into cloud platforms”.
Houtan Houshmand, principal architect at Fujitsu, said his company was planning to incorporate the technology into its SD-WAN products.
David Zuniga, business development manager at Axiom Space, said the technology has been tested on the International Space Station (ISS) and would lead to “space tourism with researchers and scientists [who] could do their work in space” with total security.
Cambridge Quantum founder and Quantinuum CEO Ilyas Khan said: “This product could be used by anyone.”
He said it should be used by organisations worrying about the threat from “people sequestering data” – storing encrypted information for the time when quantum computers will also be available to decrypt it.
“You cannot afford to be asleep at the wheel,” said Khan. “When should we be worried? Of course, now.” He said existing classical systems “could be protected by a quantum computer”.
Jones said that the Quantum Origin “typical end point might be a hardware security module” that could be added to existing infrastructure. For large enterprises to add this “might be a year or two”, he said. Smaller businesses were “slightly further out”.
On prices, he said that a typical key using existing technology costs about US$1 a month. He implied that a Quantum Origin key would be cheaper but did not go into details.
Fujitsu’s Houshmand was also asked about pricing. “I can’t provide a cost,” he said, saying that what Fujitsu has done so far “is just a proof of concept”.
Jones said that Quantinuum, which is a joint venture of Cambridge Quantum and Honeywell, is forming “a number of partnerships”, naming military supplier Thalys and public key infrastructure (PKI) specialist Keyfactor. “This is how the technology will diffuse into the market.”
He said: “We want to make this product broadly available,” but accepted that there were global security considerations. “There are export control laws. We have to do a lot of due diligence.”
Zuniga at Axiom Space, which is training its own crew for the ISS and is planning its own private space station, said that the US operating segment of the ISS, where Quantum Origin is to be used, has “a firewall to keep our data secure” from the Russian sector. “If we can’t secure our data, it hurts a really expensive asset that’s floating in space.”
Khan, asked about possible exports to China and Russia, said: “We are answerable to the regulators. We are an American and a British company. We’re not actually able to sell to adversaries.”
Houshmand at Fujitsu agreed: “We have to stay rigidly compliant.”
Elaborating on the technology, Jones said: “Quantum Origin is a cloud-based platform that uses a quantum computer from Quantinuum to product cryptographic keys.”
He was asked whether companies had five years, as is often suggested, to install quantum-level protection for their data. “They’re wrong by about five years,” he said.
Jones said Quantum Origin keys are “the strongest that have ever been created or could ever be created”, because they use quantum physics to produce truly random numbers.
Khan noted that the beta version of Quantum Origin has been tested on an IBM quantum network.
Quantinuum and Cambridge Quantum has “a number of clients” that have tested the technology, but they are operating under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), said Khan.
“We have been working for a number of years now on a method to efficiently and effectively use the unique features of quantum computers in order to provide our customers with a defence against adversaries and criminals now and in the future once quantum computers are prevalent,” he said.
He added: “Quantum Origin gives us the ability to be safe from the most sophisticated and powerful threats today as well threats from quantum computers in the future.”
Jones said: “When we talk about protecting systems using quantum-powered technologies, we’re not just talking about protecting them from future threats. From large-scale takedowns of organisations, to nation state hackers and the worrying potential of ‘hack now, decrypt later’ attacks, the threats are very real today, and very much here to stay. Responsible enterprises need to deploy every defence possible to ensure maximum protection at the encryption level today and tomorrow.”
A quantum of disruptiion: Capacity's feature about quantum technology, its threat to data security and what it is also doing to protect security, is here