SEOUL — In preparation for the era of quantum computing, LGU+, a mobile carrier in South Korea, will work with a prominent mathematician and cryptographer to apply quantum-resistant cryptography technology to next-generation wired and wireless networks and 5G services.
A business agreement on the development of software and hardware related to post-quantum cryptography was signed on Thursday between LGU+ and Cheon Jung-hee, a Seoul National University professor of mathematical sciences who heads Cryptolab, a lab involved in encryption and data security.
Post-quantum cryptography refers to cryptographic algorithms that are thought to be secure against an attack by a quantum computer. Even though current, publicly known, experimental quantum computers lack processing power to break any real cryptographic algorithm, many cryptographers are designing new algorithms to prepare for a time when quantum computing becomes a threat.
Binary digital electronic computers are based on transistors and capacitors with data encoded into binary digits (bits). Quantum computation uses quantum bits or qubits. Theoretically, a quantum computer would gain enormous processing power and perform tasks using all possible permutations simultaneously.
“If quantum computers are commercialized, existing encryption algorithms, which were difficult to solve even after decades, will be resolved within minutes, and it is urgent to introduce quantum-resistant cryptography technology,” Cheon said, vowing to develop and commercialize quantum crypto-resistant technology through cooperation with LGU+.
Cheon and LGU+ will work together to analyze network security vulnerabilities, study quantum-resistant cryptography algorithms, and develop software, optimal security network structure and equipment. They will apply quantum-resistant cryptography technology to next-generation wired and wireless networks and 5G services.
Quantum cryptography is an essential security solution for safeguarding critical information. Data encoded in a quantum state is virtually unhackable without quantum keys which are basically random number tables used to decipher encrypted information. Post-quantum cryptography does not require separate network infrastructure to distribute cryptographic keys because it can be applied flexibility to different sections of wired and wireless networks that require encryption.
South Korea’s top mobile carrier, SK Telecom, has developed a quantum cryptographic communication solution to enhance the security of IoT (internet of things), self-driving cars and smart cities based on a 5G network.