SK Telecom Demonstrates Advanced Quantum Cryptographic Technologies at Capitol Hill
SK Telecom Demonstrates Advanced Quantum Cryptographic Technologies at Capitol Hill
  • By Lee Kyung-ho (
  • 승인 2015.09.09 10:27
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On September 9, SK Telecom announced that it demonstrated advanced quantum cryptographic technologies.

The demonstration, co-hosted by Representatives Walter Jones, Joe Wilson, and Robert Aderholt, took place in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington D.C., and was attended by senior government officials from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Joint Quantum Institute, and International Transportation Innovation Center.

SK Telecom has demonstrated two core quantum cryptographic technologies: Quantum Cryptography System and a small-sized, low-cost true random number generator (QRNG) based on quantum physics.

In the challenging environment of modern communications, governments around the world are actively promoting the development of strong cryptographic algorithms to protect their national security, and create a safe and secure communications environment. In particular, the United States’ Government has recently announced preliminary plans for transitioning to quantum algorithms. Against this backdrop, SK Telecom’s advanced quantum cryptography technologies are drawing attention from the U.S. government, industry and academia.

SK Telecom’s Quantum Cryptography System, developed since 2011, is the most secure encryption method that uses quantum physics instead of mathematics-based encryption algorithms being used today. That is, it securely distributes a secret key to legitimate parties. Here, a key is a table of random numbers shared by legitimate users in such a way that the information is known only to them, and secure means secure against any possible eavesdropping, which is the highest level of security. The system is expected to enhance security of critical network infrastructure.

SK Telecom’s QRNG, once developed, is expected to replace the software-based pseudo-random number generators being used in traditional encryption algorithms. This will be applied to diverse types of devices and applications to prevent hacking.

"It is my honor to learn about SK Telecom's quantum cryptography technology. As technologies develop, cybersecurity is becoming more important than ever,” said Joe Wilson, a member of the U.S. House of representatives who currently also serves on the House Armed Services Committee. “Considering the close relationship between Korea and the United States, I hope we can collaborate in the area of advanced cybersecurity."

“SK Telecom, as the operator of Korea’s largest mobile network, has a competitive edge in the development of the most stable quantum cryptographic technologies as it can actually apply the technology to its commercial network to test and fine-tune its performance,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO and Head of SK Telecom's Corporate R&D Center. “Quantum cryptographic technologies, once applied, will mark an epoch in the field of communications security, providing unprecedented level of protection for national backbone networks as well as diverse industries including finance and healthcare.”

Meanwhile, on the same day, SK Telecom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with International Transportation Innovation Center (ITIC), one of the world’s leading facilities for secure networked transportation technology, to collaborate for the development of quantum cryptography technologies.

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) in an increasingly connected world, cryptography technology is being highlighted as a possible solution to a whole new set of security challenges in the IoT era. Under the MOU, the two companies will jointly develop and pursue standardization of hacking-prevention technologies based on true random number generator to protect connected vehicles.

At present, most ICT systems, including the connected vehicle system, uses software-based pseudo random number generators for encryption, meaning that they can fall vulnerable to hackers who decrypt the sequence of digits. SK Telecom’s QRNG, once introduced, will eliminate such concerns for security as it generates true random numbers based on hardware.

To accelerate the development of a true random number generator, the company joined hands with the University of Geneva and ID Quantique (IDQ), a world-leading developer of quantum-safe crypto solutions.

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