Sunday, October 20, 2019

SK Telecom invests in Switzerland's ID Quantique

SK Telecom has made an equity investment in ID Quantique, a start-up based in Switzerland that is developing quantum cryptography.

The European Union has launched a 3-year European research project, named Open Quantum Key Distribution (OPENQKD), that will install test quantum communication infrastructures in several European countries. It will boost the security of critical applications in the fields of telecommunication, finance, health care, electricity supply and government services. The project will lay the groundwork for a pan-European quantum communication infrastructure that uses satellite as well as ground-based solutions. For this €15 million project, the European Union has selected 38 companies and research institutes across the continent, including ID Quantique, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Nokia.

Since establishing Quantum Tech Lab in 2011, SK Telecom has been making aggressive efforts to develop quantum cryptography technologies to enhance the safety and security of its mobile networks. In March 2019, the company has applied ID Quantique’s Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) to its 5G authentication center (AuC) to prevent hacking and ensure quantum-safe security. It has also applied 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.

“In the 5G era, security will become increasingly important as all connected things will generate data,” said Park Jin-hyo, the Chief Technology Officer of SK Telecom. “SK telecom will make continued investment in quantum cryptography communication technologies to secure the world’s top competitiveness in this area.”


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.

See also