European Cyber Security Perspectives provides insights into recent developments in the field from renowned cyber and infosec professionals. 2020’s edition features an article from IDQ’s Jean-Sébastien Pegon and Bruno Huttner discussing quantum communication network applications.

Now in its seventh edition, the publication is authored by KPN alongside a host of contributors from companies and educational institutions, one of which is ID Quantique.

Continuing the trend from last year’s report, European Cyber Security Perspectives 2020 begins with a look back at 2019. It focusses on the large increase in digital warfare, the risks to governments and companies alike of not continually investing in security, and how cyber criminals are turning their attention to larger and more lucrative targets.

The preface also highlights the global nature of cyber threats and information security, stating that “it becomes more and more clear that we really need to join forces to create a serious defence against cyber criminals.”

Finally, KPN’s Paul Slootmaker and Marcel van Oirschot acknowledge that no fewer than four articles in this edition feature quantum research, and recognise the growing support this research is gaining from companies and governments across Europe.

The adoption of quantum cryptography solutions by service providers is essential to secure their network and their customer data for the coming decade.
Grégoire Ribordy – CEO, ID Quantique

Quantum communication network applications today and tomorrow

Authored by IDQ’s Jean-Sébastien Pegon and Bruno Huttner, ‘Quantum communication networks today and tomorrow’ explores how quantum-safe technologies, specifically Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG), can secure data and mobile networks against quantum attacks.

The article begins by outlining the risks quantum computers pose to encryption, especially those relying on public key cryptography.

Various announcements from governmental organisations, standards bodies…and private companies working on quantum computers have made the threat absolutely clear: encryption breaches would generate a systemic failure.

It goes on to explain the principles behind both QKD and QRNG, and the role these technologies play in cybersecurity. As the authors observe; “Classical or post quantum cryptography solutions are based on assumptions about the ease of solving complex problems (NP Hard), knowing the computational power available at a given point of time. In contrast Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is recognized as an Information Theoretically Secure (ITS) answer to the threat to security posed by quantum computers.”

Jean-Sébastien and Bruno go on to propose a range of telecom use cases and the foreseen next steps to ease the integration of quantum cryptography in these networks. Specifically, they look at:

  • QKD securing datacentre interconnection (DCI) or site to site connectivity
  • The need for quantum communication networks beyond site to site connectivity (securing large telecom networks with hundreds of nodes)
  • QKD integrated in an SDN architecture
  • QKD securing a 4G/5G backhaul

Turning their attention to the commercial side, they observe that; “some B2B customers are ready to pay more to benefit from premium performance and long-term security ensuring forward secrecy and data integrity of critical applications.”

“As quantum computers mature, the volume of customers interested by quantum-safe security solutions will continue to increase justifying long-term investment to expand the solution to the entire network.”

They conclude with the note that early adopters of quantum-safe telecoms infrastructure would indeed be able to use it as a competitive advantage:

Quantum-safe security applied today to 4G or 5G is a service differentiator compared to other providers.

Quantum continues to make an impact

As mentioned earlier, IDQ’s article was joined by three others looking at differing areas of quantum research:

  • KPN’s Kai-Chun Ning and Phil Zimmermann discuss how post-quantum cryptography needs to be examined and tailored to meet the various requirements of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
  • Andreas Hülsing at Eindhoven University of Technology gives an update on NIST’s post-quantum cryptography standardisation competition
  • Itam Barmes and Bram Bosch at Deloitte ask: “Will quantum computers break the Bitcoin blockchain?” (a topic we too have covered in the 2019 edition)

Download our article here, or a full copy of European Cyber Security Perspectives 2020 here.

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