Quantinuum unit unveils new Quantum Origin cryptographic key platform

By Dan O'Shea posted 08 Dec 2021

Quantinuum is not wasting much time unleashing new products on the world. The new entity, the result of the merger between Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum, officially began life just days ago, but already has unveiled a new cryptographic key platform.

Cambridge Quantum which now operates as a subsidiary of Quantinuum, claims that the new Quantum Origin platform, relies on a quantum-entanglement-based protocol created using a noisy, intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computer.

Quantum Origin, the firm said, “is the first platform to derive cryptographic keys using the output of a quantum computer to ensure data is protected at foundational level against evolving attacks… The quantum-enhanced cryptographic keys generated by Quantum Origin are based on verifiable quantum randomness and can be integrated into existing systems.”

The company said this will give government and enterprise customers protection against ‘hack now, decrypt later’ attacks, and offer better security than many random number generators.

The cloud-hosted Quantum Origin keys are “seeded with verifiable quantum randomness from Quantinuum’s H-Series quantum computers, powered by Honeywell,” the company said. “It supports traditional algorithms, such as RSA or AES, as well as post-quantum cryptography algorithms currently being standardised by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).”

“We have been working for a number of years now on a method to efficiently and effectively use the unique features of quantum computers in order to provide our customers with a defence against adversaries and criminals now and in the future once quantum computers are prevalent,” said Ilyas Khan, CEO of Quantinuum and founder of Cambridge Quantum.

Duncan Jones, head of cybersecurity at Cambridge Quantum, added, “When we talk about protecting systems using quantum-powered technologies, we’re not just talking about protecting them from future threats. From large-scale takedowns of organizations, to nation state hackers and the worrying potential of ‘hack now, decrypt later’ attacks, the threats are very real today, and very much here to stay. Responsible enterprises need to deploy every defense possible to ensure maximum protection at the encryption level today and tomorrow.”

Quantum Origin initially is being offered to financial services companies and vendors of cybersecurity products before Cambridge Quantum plans to expand it into other high priority sectors, such as telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, defense and government.

Among the earliest users of the platform is Axiom Space, which used Quantum Origin to conduct a test of post-quantum encrypted communication between the ISS and Earth — sending the message “Hello Quantum World” back to earth encrypted with post-quantum keys seeded from verifiable quantum randomness. Also, Fujitsu integrated Quantum Origin into its software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) using quantum-enhanced keys alongside traditional algorithms.

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