PQShield connects with Microchip, Collins Aerospace as PQC heats up

By Dan O'Shea posted 02 Jun 2022

With the U.S. federal government and others elsewhere starting to push for aggressive adoption of post-quantum cryptography (PQC), new firms and partnerships are emerging at a rapid rate.

The latest news in this vein comes from U.K.-based PQShield, which this week announced a licensing deal with semiconductor manufacturer Microchip Technology, as well as a new collaboration with Collins Aerospace.

Regarding the Microchip relationship, PQShield said in a statement that the company has become a licensee of its PQC IP cores “for use in its product portfolio in the coming years.” 

Ali El Kaafarani, PQShield’s founder and CEO, added, “Our new licensing deal with Microchip Technology is a great example of how seriously manufacturers are taking the quantum threat. OEMs and suppliers now understand that any hardware designed and built today could have a decades-long lifecycle. If it doesn’t have quantum-resistance baked in, that’s a huge security problem waiting to happen.

In the arrangement with Collins Aerospace, PQShield and Collins “are collaborating on a proof of concept integration of post-quantum cryptography solutions.”

PQShield also said that as more national governments are taking notice of potential quantum threats, it has submitted its hybrid cryptographic library, PQCryptoLib, to be validated for FIPS 140-3, the mandatory standard for the protection of sensitive data within U.S. and Canadian federal systems. This makes it the first hybrid library ever submitted to the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cryptographic Module Validation Program for FIPS 140-3. It will be used by government partners and contractors to do business in a fully-compliant, quantum-secure way. The company also described itself as “a leading contributor” to the NIST PQC standardization project, having co-authored multiple algorithms under final consideration for standardization, and advised on all others.

This week’s announcements come after PQShield announced a $20 million funding round back in January.

The new activity provides more evidence that more companies are looking into PQC. As noted in an IQT Research report from last year, “The conversation today is no longer about whether it is necessary to implement PQC, but how to do so, and when. Because of ‘harvest now-decrypt later’ hacking strategies, the quantum threat is increasingly seen as immediate.”

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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