Page 10 - ETSI-Newsletter-Feb-2017

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Industrial Standards for Quantum Cryptography
By Andrew Shields, chairman of ETSI ISG QKD
Europe has a long history of leading The threat of quantum
research in quantum information computers
science and technology. During 2016
the EC announced a €1bn Flagship Quantum cryptography will also be
initiative to translate this world-leading secure from a quantum computer.
research into innovative products and Quantum computers can process the
services. This is expected to begin inputs of a calculation in parallel and
with a ramp-up phase in 2018 and will can therefore solve certain numerical
provide stability in funding over a 10 problems much more efficiently than
year period. Quantum communications a “classical” processor. Following the
is one of the four “pillars” of the work of Peter Shor of AT&T, we know
Flagship and is expected to be one that a quantum computer can factorize
of the first quantum technologies to large integers very efficiently. As the
deliver useful applications. Amongst factorization problem is the basis of
the recommendations of the recently conventional public key cryptography,
published quantum manifesto for this would significantly weaken many
quantum technologies in Europe is of the techniques that we rely on today.
a quantum network linking major As such there is a pressing need to
European cities to promote this develop cryptography that will remain
innovation. Standards are recognized secure when large scale quantum
as essential for industrial and societal computers become available.
take-up of the technology.
Several networks employing In 2016, IBM provided the first public
quantum key distribution Unique advantages of access to a simple quantum computer:
(QKD) under construction quantum cryptography a circuit they have developed based
around the world on superconducting technology.
Interest in quantum cryptography Fortunately, however, your secrets are
Global developments stems from its unique security still safe - for now. This early prototype
properties derived directly from possesses only 5 quantum bits, so it
The past year has seen remarkable the laws of nature, rather than cannot solve any useful problem faster
progress in the deployment of quantum assumptions about the difficulty of than an ordinary PC. Nevertheless,
technologies in communication certain mathematical operations. scaling to large circuit size is largely
infrastructures, with several networks It will allow networks to be more now just an engineering problem. With
employing quantum key distribution resilient to technological advances Google, Microsoft and other IT giants
(QKD) under construction around in the future. There is a concern that investing heavily in this technology,
the world. In the UK, metropolitan network communications that are many believe the era of really useful
quantum networks are being built encrypted using conventional public quantum computers may be less than a
in Cambridge and Bristol, connected key cryptography may be stored today decade away. Given that it takes many
by a long distance backbone link via and decrypted in the future when more years to introduce new cryptographic
London. Quantum digital signatures powerful processors or new methods of infrastructures, it is essential that the
were demonstrated in another metro crypt-analysis are available. In contrast, technology and associated standards
network in Tokyo. Meanwhile in quantum cryptographic protocols for quantum cryptography are
China a 2000km backbone connecting should be resilient to all advances in developed now.
Beijing and Shanghai is underway computing and mathematics. The solution to these new threats
and the Micius satellite, launched in is likely to involve a combination of
August 2016, will extend QKD to global The first applications of both quantum cryptography and
distances. quantum cryptography are new “quantum-resistant” algorithms,
likely to be those requiring with improved resilience to number
Europe has a long history long term secrecy crunching by a quantum computer.
of leading research in ETSI and the Institute for Quantum
quantum information The first applications of quantum Computing in Waterloo, Canada
science and technology cryptography are likely to be those organize an annual workshop on
requiring long term secrecy, such as Quantum Safe Cryptography that
encryption of sensitive government or brings together researchers and
corporate data or the health records of companies working to introduce the
individuals. Recently Toshiba launched new technologies needed. At last year’s
a service to encrypt Genome data sent meeting in Toronto, we heard about
between a databank and an analysis the various government initiatives
centre in Sendai, Japan. Meanwhile for quantum safe cryptography
IdQuantique have announced a service including standardization, recent
for financial institutions and enterprises technical progress and various industry
to encrypt the data transmitted perspectives. We encourage interested
between the Geneva metropolitan area parties to attend the next workshop in
and a remote disaster recovery data London in September 2017.
centre located 70 km away.
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10 | THE STANDARD February 2017
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