SK Telecom puts quantum key distribution forward as global standards

Ha Min-yong SK Telecom.jpg

South Korean operator SK Telecom has succeeded in getting its approaches to quantum-era securing considered as global standards.

The company has proposed its approach to quantum cryptography to ITU-T, the standards unit of the International Telecommunication Union, a UN body.

Quantum cryptography communication networks are seen as the route to securing data on the way through networks and into and out of data centres.

The need is urgent, as the linked development of quantum computing will make it possible in the next few years to crack traffic and data that were encrypted using today’s public key distribution (PKD) technology, in use for many years – including confidential data stored for years waiting for the technology to catch up.

SK says its two technologies regarding the control and interworking of quantum cryptography communication networks have been adopted as new work items at the ITU-T meeting held in Geneva. “They will be approved as international standards through discussions among ITU-T member countries,” said SK Telecom.

Both technologies feature quantum key distribution (QKD), which feature quantum physics techniques to replace PKD systems, such as Diffie-Hellman, first proposed in 1976.

The two technologies chosen by ITU-T are to consider software defined networking control for QKD network interworking and a framework for QKD network federation.

These will allow companies to manage their existing communication networks and QKD networks “in an integrated and efficient manner”, said SK Telecom.

Ha Min-yong (pictured), chief development officer of SK Telecom, said: “The approval of these two items by ITU-T carries a significant meaning as they will serve a pivotal role in accelerating the adoption of quantum cryptography communication throughout the globe.”

Ha said: “We will continue to drive the growth of the quantum ecosystem by taking an active part in the international standardisation of quantum technologies and developing attractive services and business cases.”

SK Telecoms has built a pilot QKD infrastructure on South Korea and is developing application services for 17 different institutions from the public, medical and industrial sectors.