Qubitekk developed quantum cryptography solutions for the machine-to-machine (M2M) communications market. As hackers become more sophisticated and computational power increases, the cryptography protecting critical infrastructure communications (i.e. the electrical grid, oil and gas pipeline, etc.) must be updated. In 2015, the U.S. National Security Agency advised against upgrading to cryptographic solutions that were not verified to be “quantum-safe” (e.g., would be vulnerable to a cyber attack from a quantum computer). Unfortunately, for many M2M applications, no commercial, quantum-safe alternative currently exists.
Working closely with two of the four major utilities in California, Qubitekk is developing and trial testing a quantum cryptography solution that will provide quantum-safe authentication and encryption to automation devices in the field. Qubitekk’s solutions utilize entangled photons which are protected by the laws of quantum physics against undetected tampering. By leveraging these “tamper-indicating” photons, encryption keys and authentication codes can be generated and distributed securely over unprotected channels. Because these solutions achieve security through physical processes, they are not made vulnerable by advances in computational power and, hence, are quantum-safe.
Ultra-secure keys – Qubitekk’s Quantum Key Distribution System
As part of Qubitekk’s efforts to develop Quantum cryptography solutions, Qubitekk announced its first Quantum Key Distribution System (QKD) to secure M2M communication.
Qubitekk’s Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system is protocol based on entangled photon distribution for establishing an ultra-secure key between two devices. This key will be used for encrypting and maintaining the integrity of data sent between two devices. The secure distribution of keys is possible over optical fibers to encrypt communications over existing communication channels.
Authentication using Qubitekk’s Quantum Data Locking System
The Quantum Data Locking system allows remote devices to authenticate commands from a command center or control facility. By translating classically transmitted messages into quantum bits – which are then decentralized through secure distribution to multiple repeaters – the technology permits both wired and wireless devices to authenticate messages using quantum phenomena. A significant departure from traditional quantum key distribution techniques, this unique application of quantum entanglement is being used to authenticate timing signals, multi-cast signals, and a range of other 1-to-many communications associated with distributed automation.