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Quantum-Safe Security Solutions for Protecting Critical Infrastructure

As critical infrastructure control systems (SCADA) become more closely integrated with other systems via the internet, they are exposed to additional risks. This makes robust cryptographic protection a must.

The Importance of Protecting Critical Infrastructure

A nation’s critical infrastructure provides the essential services that underpin society and serves as the backbone of the economy, security and health. In most countries, critical infrastructure comprises a number of sectors, with criticality being highest in electricity and water supply, banks, road and rail transport, telecommunications and information technologies.

While control systems (SCADA) used to be standalone, advancements in remote monitoring and Big Data analytics means they have become more integrated with other systems, exposing them to new risks as data is in motion across large-scale networks.

Action is required now to ensure current security and to prepare upgrade paths for future technology advances, such as quantum computing.

IDQ’s range of quantum-safe security solutions are designed to protect data in motion against even the most complex attacks, ensuring the long-term protection of critical infrastructure.

The Impact of Critical Infrastructure Data Breaches

The threats posed to critical infrastructure are numerous, but can be broken down into two main criteria: The first is the input of rogue data, tampering and service disruption that is typically associated with state actor harm, ‘nuisance’ incidents or acts of terrorism. The second is the theft of key business information such as IP, customer data or financial records which can be exploited by criminals.

The consequences of such attacks will be felt across a country and will often result in economic damage, harm to citizens and disruption to both businesses and national services.

Notable threats to critical infrastructure in recent times include:

Ukranian power grid: A 2015 attack on the Ukrainian power grid that left 230,000 people without power for hours, with a similar attack occurring one year later.

Rye Brook dam: In 2013, hackers succeeded in gaining access to the core command-and-control system of the Rye Brook dam in New York; however this was not reported until 2016.

SWIFT: Three attacks on the SWIFT global bank messaging system, used by banks to transfer money across the world, between 2015 and 2016 resulted in millions of dollars being stolen.

UK energy sector: 2017 saw the UK’s General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) issue warnings that hackers are repeatedly attacking the UK energy sector, putting the country’s top providers on alert and encouraging them to tighten security.

Quantum-Safe Security for Critical Infrastructure

In order to guarantee safety, security and stability, critical infrastructure must be protected in the face of multiple attack vectors, as well as the threats posed by emerging technologies. Implementing a quantum-safe security solution protects infrastructure to a level unparalleled by more traditional cryptographic methods.

Quantum-Safe Network Encryption

IDQ’s Centauris network encryption platform offers “set & forget” functionality to ensure that the encryption does not place an additional burden on the network team. In addition, state-of-the-art security features meet even the most stringent regulatory requirements. FIPS and Common Criteria level security certifications ensure both physical protection of the appliance as well as best-practice encryption key management processes and access controls.

Quantum Key Distribution

IDQ’s Cerberis quantum key distribution range is the world’s first carrier-grade QKD platform that provides provably secure key exchange. The range exploits a fundamental principle of quantum physics to exchange cryptographic keys over networks, ensuring long-term protection and confidentiality.

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