System protects important information, heralds new era of safe data transmission in U.S.
Battelle working with Swiss firm ID Quantique toward large-scale deployment
Columbus, OH. 10, Oct., 2013—Battelle experts have completed the installation of the first commercial quantum key distribution (QKD) protected network in the United States. Using fiber optic lines installed between the headquarters campus and a satellite office in Dublin, Ohio and hardware from ID Quantique, Battelle data containing such information as financials, intellectual property, drawings, designs, and more will be protected now and in the future.
Because Battelle takes information security seriously, it invested in the project to protect its own data. In the next few years, all Battelle locations in central Ohio will be connected to the network and by 2015, Battelle offices in Washington D.C. will plug in. Battelle experts know that the data protection industry is on a steep upward learning curve and intend to lead the industry by protecting itself first and consulting with others as soon as possible.
Thieves steal data constantly, so protecting it is an ongoing challenge. There are more than 6,000 banks with 80,000 branches in the United States, nearly 6,000 hospitals and thousands of insurance companies. Traditionally, their precious data are protected by “keys,” which are transmitted between sender and receiver. These transmissions are based on difficult mathematical algorithms that can’t be broken by today’s machines. But the keys will be broken by computers of the near future—say five years or less. By using QKD, senders and receivers will fire photons with specific properties through fiber optic lines. When bad actors try to grab the encryption key information, the photons are changed in easily detectable ways, so the sender and receiver perceive the difference.
Data encrypted by using existing key technologies will become vulnerable once quantum computers are mainstream. According to recent revelations, some aspects of current secure communications encryption technology already have been compromised by U.S. and British governments. While products based on QKD technology already are being used by banks and governments in Europe—especially Switzerland, home of ID Quantique’s headquarters--they have not been deployed commercially in the United States.
Fiber optic cables limit the delivery of photons to about 60 miles, so a place as large as the United States poses an installation problem. In order to extend the protected reach, repeaters, or “trusted nodes,” must be established. Battelle is developing a scalable architecture with ID Quantique—including these trusted nodes—that will enable QKD to operate at any distance, making large scale implementation possible and practical. According to Battelle General Manager Kevin Boyne, this technology will underlie the world’s longest QKD network, exceeding 400 miles in 2015 when Battelle’s Columbus headquarters connects to its Washington D.C.-area offices.
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit www.battelle.org.
About ID Quantique
ID Quantique is a leader in high-performance multi-protocol network encryption based on conventional and quantum technologies. The company provides network security products and services to banks, governments and other enterprises throughout Switzerland and Europe, and ID Quantique has deployed the world’s first commercial off-the-shelf QKD solutions for long-term data security to these industries. The company also has a global footprint for quantum-based scientific instrumentation products (measuring devices for academic and industrial research laboratories) and random number generators. The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
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