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Quantum-Safe Security Solutions for Telecommunications

Telecommunication networks underpin the communication, collaboration and media channels that service millions of organisations and billions of individuals every day. They should be protected against both existing threats and emerging ones, such as quantum computing.

The Role of Encryption in Securing Telecommunications Infrastructure

It is estimated that, by 2020, 1.7MB of data will be created every second, for every person on earth. These vast quantities of data in motion, generated by anything from voice calls and email to collaboration tools and media streaming services, make telecoms networks a target for cyber criminals who can intercept and eavesdrop on this communication, breaking forward secrecy and compromising data integrity.

To combat this, telecom service providers are turning to encryption to secure data in motion across their networks.

While Tier 1 carriers and private network operators suffer the attacks, it is their customers who suffer the affects. The data that is lost or stolen belongs to the customer, not the carrier. Any loss of data results in a corresponding loss of trust and confidence in the service provider’s ability to provide a quality service.

Carrier security concerns will be heightened as new technologies and trends emerge. Few will have more of a transformative effect than quantum computers, which will be capable of breaking today’s public key encryption in a fraction of the time conventional computing methods can.

IDQ’s range of quantum-safe security solutions are specifically designed to secure data in motion across telecommunication networks against existing and emerging threats, including those posed by quantum computing. Our solutions enable carriers to guarantee security while offering an additional revenue stream – security-as-a-service.

Emerging Technologies

Defining a security proposition with long-term benefits can be challenging in an environment that continues to evolve. The arrival of 5G networks, the adoption of software-defined networking and the emergence of the quantum internet will all introduce new threat vectors.

The roll-out of 5G networks, which will become the default platform for mobile telephony and data, is a prime example. Securing the fiber networks that underpin the technology against conventional and quantum attack should be the highest priority as without proper security, the integrity of the network is compromised.

The transition from MPLS networks to Software Defined Networks introduces new security challenges; as does the move to borderless infrastructure and the growth of the IoT. Large, distributed WAN will require a simple, scalable solution if they are to offer “security by design”.

Alongside encrypting data-packets themselves, carriers must also look to secure the metadata that is transmitted across the network as, contrary to popular belief, understanding the ‘who, what, where and when’ of data transfer is meaningful information that hackers can exploit.

Quantum-Safe Security for Telecommunication Networks

Future-proofing our communications infrastructure with the introduction of quantum-safe cryptographic solutions should be a priority for all major carriers. Early adopters will not only signal their intentions in terms of a secure-by-design strategy, but also introduce a clear point of differentiation.  In a competitive market, where customers have a choice of service provider, security could be a key influencing factor.

Quantum Key Generation and Distribution are two of the foundation technologies of quantum-safe security. Alongside the evolving use of quantum-safe algorithms they will form the backbone of the next generation of secure communication networks.

The security of any cryptographic system is determined by the security of its keys. These keys play an integral role in ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of data in motion; plus, the authentication, non-repudiation and access control of the parties involved in the data exchange. For keys to be truly secure, they need to be unique, truly random and stored/distributed securely.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) as a Service

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 forward secrecy.

Thanks to Key Management Systems, the QKD platform can now interface with various network encryption vendors. This enables new security design and business models, such as QKD as a Service, to be provided by managed service providers. Also, major mobile service providers are validating or deploying this quantum-safe technology in 5G Networks.

Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG)

The Quantis Appliance is a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) designed specifically for networked security applications. As a trusted source of certified randomness, it is the ideal solution for telecommunications and data centre service providers.

The Quantis Appliance is purpose-built for environments where high availability is essential. Ease of implementation means it can be added or removed from a network without impacting on any other devices, allowing service providers to offer QRNG as a service.

The combination of QRNG and QKD ensures that keys are generated with high entropy and distributed with provable security across the network.

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