Wednesday, March 20, 2019

SK Telecom applies Quantum Cryptography to network security

SK Telecom has applied a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) developed by ID Quantique of Switzerland to its 5G authentication center (AuC). QRNG is a device that constantly generates “quantum random numbers,” which creates strong keys that are not biased and cannot be predicted. SK Telecom said it plans to apply the same quantum random number technique to its 4G network as well.

Next month, SK Telecom will also apply ID Quantique’s Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technology to the Seoul-Daejeon section – the most data traffic-concentrated section in Korea - of its 5G and LTE networks, to strengthen the security of 5G and LTE data transmission and reception. QKD provides ultimate cryptographic security based on the laws of quantum mechanics. It enables two parties to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages.

SK Telecom invested US$65 million in ID Quantique in February 2018.

SK Telecom also noted its pivotal role in global standardization of QKD and QRNG technologies at ITU-T. In February 2019, SK Telecom’s two new technologies related to QKD have been selected as work items by ITU-T’s Study Group 17 (SG17), which coordinates security-related work across all ITU-T Study Groups. Combining these two work items with the two on-going work items on QKD and QRNG technologies it proposed in July 2018, SK Telecom is currently leading a total of four meaningful work items in SG 17. In addition, Sim Dong-hi, a delegate from SK Telecom,  is serving as associate-rapporteur on quantum technology in SG17.

“As security emerges as one of the most important issues in the 5G era, SK Telecom is determined to provide the most secure 5G network and focus on expanding the ecosystem by developing quantum cryptography technologies,” said Park Jin-hyo, the Chief Technology Officer of SK Telecom.

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