Safeguarding data and communications with quantum technology
To protect the world’s communication channels from ever-evolving risks, Toshiba makes a leap with quantum physics in the cybersecurity game.
Against the backdrop of accelerated development in the digital age, cybersecurity is now at the centre of global conversations around data safety and compliance.
Organisations and governments alike are grappling with new realities as the digital economy heightens the pace at which data is collected, transmitted and processed – leading to an uptick in cyberthreats and risks.
INTERPOL’s ASEAN Cyberthreat Assessment 2021 report outlined the exponential increase in cybercrime, spurring organisations to explore more ways to manage sensitive information.
In the wake of these trends, Japanese social infrastructure firm Toshiba is advocating the protection of data communications using quantum key distribution (QKD) technology to realise a more secure society.
SECURING NETWORK COMMUNICATION WITH QUANTUM PHYSICS
The data deluge brought about by rapid digitalisation, compounded by the widespread adoption of technologies like cloud, means that sensitive data is increasingly being stored on remote computer servers. Securing the transmission and retrieval of data relies on encryption of information sent over public networks.
Asia is a major global economic hub where data remains at risk due to weak data infrastructure. In countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, cybersecurity is already a growing priority for investment and policymaking alike. As the region approaches a point of inflection in the current climate, there is a pressing need to quickly implement tighter management measures to achieve more secured communication and data protection.
Quantum physics is poised to revolutionise a wide range of sectors by supporting technologies ranging from autonomous vehicles to advanced cybersecurity.
Government interest is already on the rise vis-a-vis quantum physics. Australia, for instance, recently announced plans to invest US$73 million (S$100 million) in quantum science as a critical technology for national interests. Other tech-driven nations, including Japan and Singapore, are similarly ramping up investment in this space as part of national research and development spending. Further afield, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has plans to build a general-purpose quantum computer.
With a vision to deliver the world’s leading cyber-physical-system technology to protect the private information of companies and citizens, Toshiba’s QKD technology applies the fundamental laws of quantum physics in order to secure network communications.
Sectors such as finance, defence, utilities and health sectors, as well as critical infrastructure that underpins smart cities and smart energy grids, could all benefit from an added layer of protection amid burgeoning digitalisation. QKD can be used to distribute secret digital keys important for protecting highly sensitive critical data in many industries.
QKD allows organisations and societies to protect their communication infrastructure from today’s vast array of cyberthreats, while also improving resilience and preparedness against the threats of tomorrow.
For instance, with Singapore’s positioning as a global financial hub, vast amounts of financial assets, transactions and personal information are stored and communicated in data centres and on the cloud. The island country could leverage QKD technology to encode data and detect potential data breaches early.
Over in the United States, the Department of Energy is backing the development of quantum and quantum security technologies to secure smart grids in its power infrastructure – a QKD device could be deployed between the control centre and a substation.
In healthcare, QKD technology has been applied to ensure the secure transmission of genome data in Japan – a business-critical priority given the sensitivity of personal medical information.
HAND-IN-HAND, TOWARDS A SAFER, DATA-FIRST FUTURE
To deepen efforts in building secure communication systems, Toshiba recently announced a collaboration with Singapore-based quantum technology company SpeQtral.
With Southeast Asia primed for the adoption of new and leading-edge technologies such as QKD, there is strong emphasis on the cybersecurity of the region’s digital ecosystem and the creation of a resilient communications infrastructure.
During the organisation’s participation at Singapore Fintech Festival 2021, SpeQtral shared how technologies such as QKD have great potential for both Singapore and the region to guard against cybersecurity threats. It also emphasised the need for a strong future vision for quantum cryptography solutions to widen applications to a global scale.
By sharing expertise, Toshiba and SpeQtral plan to power quantum-secure communication solutions with strategic projects supporting a range of industries.
Said Mr Hiroshi Fukuchi, corporate representative – Asia Pacific, Toshiba Corporation and managing director, Toshiba Asia Pacific: “Southeast Asia is a vast potential market and development base for QKD. Toshiba has established industry partnerships in our early deployments of quantum technology in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. We are excited to be part of the QKD industry’s global expansion and commercialisation in Singapore and Southeast Asia.”
Through this partnership, Toshiba and SpeQtral affirm their commitment to realising a more resilient society by enabling secure data communications for government agencies, corporations and – ultimately – everyday consumers who live in a data-driven world.