id Quantique and Siemens deploy the first testbed of commercial quantum cryptography in the Netherlands

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  October 15, 2010

ID Quantique and Siemens IT Solutions and Services have deployed the first commercial application of a quantum cryptography project in the Netherlands. The qualification project relates to the data transfer via optical fiber connections - with high bandwidth and availability demands – between the data centers of the Siemens offices in The Hague and Zoetermeer.

In this project, the data transfer over the Siemens network is protected by a hybrid cryptography system, combining conventional and quantum techniques. ID Quantique provides the quantum cryptography hardware and assisted Siemens in the network planning and deployment. The Australian company Senetas provides the conventional encryption hardware.

This innovative testbed project for information security in principle runs until the end of the year. In August Siemens IT Solutions and Services had already announced that it would bring this type of data security to the Dutch market.

Quantum cryptography offers new opportunities for the electronic communication of confidential and sensitive information. The information is not only secured at the moment of communicating, but also over a longer period. By combining quantum key distribution with conventional encryption an unprecedented level of security can be achieved. In Switzerland this technology is currently being used for secure government communication in the transfer of referendum results. In other countries, government agencies, patent offices and financial institutes use similar methods to exchange confidential and sensitive information.

In secured electronic communication the emitter uses a key to encrypt the message. The receiver uses the same key to retrieve the original message. To guarantee data security, it is essential that this key is safely exchanged between emitter and receiver. Quantum key distribution allows to continuously exchange new keys. As a result, an encryption application is constantly provided with new and secure key strings, which increases security.

Contrary to conventional techniques, the security of quantum key distribution is based on fundamental laws of physics relating to the behavior of matter and energy – quantum mechanics. This allows for detection of unauthorized persons during the key distribution. Unauthorized intervention can be detected not only when the key is manipulated, but also if someone is eavesdropping on the key exchange. In quantum key distribution, the keys are emitted as light particles or photons. Thanks to quantum-mechanical principles it is impossible to make a perfect copy of such a key. Also, photons can be measured only once, after which they change their state in a random manner. If the properties of the photons have changed during transfer, the legitimate users know that their key has been intercepted.

About ID Quantique

ID Quantique is a global leader shaping the evolution of network security through the development and commercialization of Quantum Key Distribution and high-speed encryption products. In 2001, the company was the first to bring this new technology to the market. In 2007, it was able to announce the first public application of this technology to secure a network used for vote counting in an election in Geneva. In addition to its strong technology focus on Quantum Key Distribution, id Quantique has also developed expertise in the area of high-speed encryption and has a broad portofolio of solutions for layer 2 encryption. A privately held company headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, id Quantique is a spin-off from the University of Geneva and has close ties with leading academic institutions.

About Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS)

Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS) is a leading international supplier of IT solutions and a renowned ICT player in the market in the Netherlands. The SIS portfolio is structured to offer complete IT solutions, with emphasis on knowledge management systems,logical, IT security and building automation. SIS positions itself in the market as a trusted partner who, thanks to high quality project management and extensive knowledge, is in an excellent position to act as main contractor as part of consortia or as an outsourcing manager. SIS employs roughly 41,000 people globally and boasts annual sales of about five billion euros.

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ID Quantique SA | Chemin de la Marbrerie 3 | 1227 Carouge - Genève | Switzerland | T +41 22 301 83 71 | F +41 22 301 83 79 |