SoftBank partners with Sandbox AQ on post-quantum cryptography

By Dan O'Shea posted 24 Mar 2022

As Sandbox AQ, once under the umbrella of Google owner Alphabet, became a standalone company this week, its significance in the sector quickly was underlined by a new partnership announcement from Tokyo-based technology giant SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank said it is working with Sandbox AQ to jointly demonstrate technology verification of Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) algorithms on SoftBank’s network for practical applications like virtual private networking. The project will be one to watch closely because SoftBank will implement various PQC algorithms that have been selected as finalists and alternatives in Round 3 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) PQC project. 

NIST has been deeply involved in the PQC standardization process, and every phase of that process and every update from NIST have been observed with bated breath, even though published PQC standards might not be available until 2024. So, verifying some standard candidates, SoftBank and Sandbox may be able to provide a view to future standardization. 

SoftBank by this summer plans to run quantum-resistant algorithms on various platforms and networks such as 5G, 4G, and Wi-Fi to evaluate and verify performance from network, machine and user experience perspectives. Looking ahead to the Beyond 5G and 6G era, SoftBank is planning to apply PQC on its own commercial network so that customers can benefit from quantum-resistant security in the near future, the partners said.

Ryuji Wakikawa, Vice President and Head of the Advanced Technology Divisionat SoftBank, said, “In a society where all industries are digitalized and based on communication infrastructures, ultra-secure communication is becoming more and more essential and should be the top priority. Sandbox AQ is not only highly skilled, but also ready for implementation. When this verification is successful, it will be possible to introduce the technology on a trial basis in industries that require high security, such as banking and insurance.”.

Jack D. Hidary, CEO, Sandbox AQ, added, “Securing the world’s global communication infrastructure from quantum-related threats is paramount in order to protect the world’s businesses, our privacy and our way of life. As one of the world’s leading communications companies, SoftBank has an opportunity to get ahead of its competitors by implementing quantum-resistant PQC algorithms across its networks and online properties before these threats fully emerge.”

By the way, Hidary will be the opening keynote speaker at the Inside Quantum Technology Quantum Enterprise event in May.

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