Nokia and Proximus complete Europe’s first live hybrid quantum encryption key trial 

Nokia and Proximus complete Europe’s first live hybrid quantum encryption key trial 

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Nokia and Proximus confirm the successful completion of Europe’s first live hybrid quantum encryption key trial.

Using technology from Nokia, ID Quantique and evolutionQ, Proximus was able to establish a quantum-safe optical network connection using quantum key distribution (QKD) to encrypt and transmit data between two data centres in Brussels and Mechelen, Belgium.

“Network security is not just a vital business priority; it’s the bedrock upon which our digital operations thrive. In an increasingly interconnected world, where data breaches and cyber threats loom large, protecting our networks is paramount," said Geert Standaert, chief technology officer at Proximus.

"To prepare for Q-day [], we need to take the proactive steps to safeguard our critical systems from quantum threats and this live trial is the first step. Working with Nokia and its partners, we’re confident that we’ll be able to continue to safeguard our critical systems and successfully navigate the ever-evolving threat landscape in the quantum computing world.”

The trial with Proximus shows how quantum cryptography can be implemented in a live network to help protect against malicious hacks or attacks from future quantum computers.

Q-day is the eventual day when quantum computers are capable of performing sophisticated computations that can break asymmetric, mathematical based encryption schemes, which enterprises, operators and governments all need to prepare for.

“The trial we did with Proximus and our partners represents a ground-breaking leap forward in securing our digital future. We’re excited to demonstrate the industry’s only hybrid quantum key distribution system which we believe will be essential to unlocking a safer and more resilient digital landscape," added James Watt, president optical networks division at Nokia.

"By combining the inherent properties of quantum mechanics with symmetrical cryptography, operators can safeguard their networks today against current and future Q-day threats such as store now, decrypt later activities.”

Using Nokia’s Quantum-Safe Networks solution with hardware and software from ID Quantique and evolutionQ which create, distribute and manage the quantum keys, Proximus was able to encrypt data running over its live optical network and use photonic properties to ensure the security of the data transmitted.

Also, Nokia’s SMS (Security Management Server), a quantum-safe key generator and orchestrator, provided classic quantum-safe encryption using symmetric key distribution in instances where the stability of data using QKD were compromised or altered.

“Today’s trial with Proximus is an industry milestone in network security. With the industry’s only hybrid quantum encryption key solution, we’re able to provide Proximus with an unprecedented level of data security and resilience against existing and future threats stemming from the inevitability of Q-day," said Rudy Hoebeke, vice president of product management, IP networks division at Nokia.

"It also opens the door to new quantum-safe services for customers seeking to safeguard intellectual property or critical sensitive data against sophisticated quantum based cyber-attacks.”

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