October 2019 marks the launch of a 3-year European research project, named OPENQKD for Open Quantum Key Distribution, that will install test quantum communication infrastructures in several European countries.
Today, we are happy to announce that ID Quantique has been selected together with Mt Pelerin, the University of Geneva and the Services Industriels de Genève by the European Union for its OPENQKD research project.
Funded by the EU with €15 million, the purpose of OPENQKD is to create and test on the continent communication network infrastructures with a built-in quantum element, known as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). The secret keys distributed through QKD enable an ultra-secure form of encryption that allows data to be transmitted with a very high level of security. It will lay the groundwork for a pan-European quantum communication infrastructure that uses satellite as well as ground-based solutions. OPENQKD will boost the security of critical applications in the fields of telecommunication, finance, health care, electricity supply and government services.
To do so, the EU has selected 38 organizations from 13 countries across the continent to work on specific use cases related to their respective sectors of activity. The EU has chosen 4 partners in Switzerland, which were mentioned above and which are all based in Geneva, to work on four use cases.
ID Quantique will provide the QKD systems for the use cases in Geneva and many others in Europe.
1. Quantum Vault:
The Quantum Vault is a new kind of Digital Asset Custody system designed by Mt Pelerin in cooperation with ID Quantique. Earlier in June, ID Quantique announced its partnership with Mt Pelerin.
This custody infrastructure aims at providing ultra-secure storage of digital assets by financial institutions such as central banks, global custodians, cryptocurrency exchanges, and asset managers.
The Quantum Vault relies on a QKD infrastructure provided by IDQ and transported over the SIG network. By adding this extra layer of quantum-safe security on top of a bank-grade custody solution, the Quantum Vault ensures that the safe storage of private keys (the proof of a digital asset’s ownership) is “Information-Theoretically Secure” (ITS). ITS means that according to information theory, such a system cannot be hacked by an external adversary even with unlimited computing power.
2. Smart Grid:
Over the next seven years, SIG will create a smart grid network to connect its 800 power stations in Geneva. Each power station will be connected to the SIG telecom optical fiber network and to SIG’s electricity network operations center. To secure data transmission and detection intrusion (hackers taking control of the electricity distribution network), SIG will test quantum technology provided by IDQ in a real production and operational environment. To this end, SIG will connect five power stations to the QKD testbed and assess available QKD technologies and services offered by the consortium.
3. Secured Datacenter Replication:
SIG intends to implement a quantum-safe solution between 2 main datacenters used as primary/backup. Data replication, fail over and load balancing imply the transfer of a large amount of highly sensitive data. Communication will be secured though QKD, with two nodes being deployed. This use case will focus on demonstrating high availability, high performance and failover solutions.
4. Encryption for Long Term Storage:
Encryption is more and more often required for securing critical data. This is particularly the case for user electronic data like the one of hospital patient frequently encrypted. As such storage is long term (10 years at least, possibly during the patients’ lifetimes), it is key to use state-of-the-art technologies. The University of Geneva will be evaluating the use of QKD for strong and long-term encryption by measuring the delay to re-encrypt data due to key or algorithm change.
With this testbed in Geneva and its corresponding use-cases, OPENQKD will develop an innovation ecosystem and training ground as well as help to grow the technology and solution supply chains for quantum communication technologies and services.
View the full press release here.
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