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Thales talks up 5G SIM with PQC ahead of Mobile World Congress

By Dan O'Shea posted 27 Feb 2023

Security technology giant Thales announced on the eve of the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona,Spain, that it had conducted a successful pilot test of end-to-end phone calls encrypted with post-quantum cryptography (PQC) implemented with a 5G device SIM card.

The proof-of-concept combined the Cryptosmart application from Thales’ Ercom mobile cybersecurity unit and its 5G SIM natively implemented with the Crystals-Kyber algorithm, the pending PQC encryption standard recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The successful test is the latest step in PQC’s march toward commercial use, a migration that will take years, and is being done with the notion in mind that some cybersecurity attackers already might be maneuvering to steal encrypted data that they will crack as powerful enough quantum computers become available.

“Building defenses against threats that do not yet exist may appear to be a daunting task,” said Philippe Keryer, Executive Vice President Strategy & Technology at Thales. “That is exactly the prospect that the global cybersecurity community faces with the impending arrival of quantum computing. The post-quantum era is still years away, but as quantum computing becomes more prevalent, practicing crypto agility now with such pilots and trials are helping Thales and its customers get prepared.”

PQC has been under the microscope recently amid claims by Chinese researchers that they could efficiently use quantum computing resources to break encryption, along with ongoing research testing the strength of certain kinds of Crystals-Kyber implementations. Now, with Thales announcement, the annual Mobile Congress event this week could be worth watching for more PQC-related news.

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

Categories: quantum computing

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