TOKYO - Today, SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) announced a partnership with SandboxAQ to jointly demonstrate technology verification of Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) on SoftBank’s network for practical applications, such as VPN. This announcement is significant because, through this collaboration with SandboxAQ, SoftBank will be able to implement various PQC algorithms that have been selected as finalists and alternatives in Round 3 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) PQC project and quickly put them into practical use.
The Internet has become an indispensable part of our lives. More and more opportunities exist to exchange confidential information through smartphone applications, such as credit cards and personal information. Cryptographic techniques, such as public-key cryptography and digital signatures, are used to keep the contents of these communications secret, and cryptographic algorithms, such as an asymmetric cryptography algorithms (RSA) and elliptic curve cryptography algorithms are also used for additional security. However, quantum computers, which are in development worldwide and are expected to be put to practical use, automate these calculations and pose the danger of instantly deciphering these cryptographs and stealing the content of communications with ease. The practical application and introduction of PQC, a new cipher based on quantum-resistant algorithms, is essential to solving this problem. PQC can be applied to authentication (digital signatures) as well as confidentiality, and since it can be implemented in software and is highly compatible with the Internet, it is expected to be used on existing communication devices such as smartphones and tablets.
In the United States, assuming that a quantum computer capable of deciphering an RSA cipher with a key length of 2,048 bits could be realized by around 2030, NIST is promoting "Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization;" however, published PQC standards might not be available until 2024.Through this collaboration with SandboxAQ, SoftBank will be able to implement various PQC algorithms that have been selected as finalists and alternatives in Round 3 of NIST's PQC project, enabling verification with a view to future standardization. By the summer of 2022, SoftBank will run quantum-resistant algorithms on various platforms and networks such as 5G, 4G, and Wi-Fi to evaluate and verify its performance from network, machine and user experience perspectives. Looking ahead to the Beyond 5G and 6G era, SoftBank is planning to apply PQC on its own commercial network so that customers can benefit from quantum-resistant security in the near future.
Image of quantum computer cryptosystem configuration
*CPE stands for Customer Premises Equipment
“In a society where all industries are digitalized and based on communication infrastructures, ultra-secure communication is becoming more and more essential and should be the top priority. SandboxAQ is not only highly skilled, but also ready for implementation. When this verification is successful, it will be possible to introduce the technology on a trial basis in industries that require high security, such as banking and insurance,” said Ryuji Wakikawa, SoftBank Corp. Vice President and Head of the Advanced Technology Division.
“Securing the world’s global communication infrastructure from quantum-related threats is paramount in order to protect the world’s businesses, our privacy and our way of life. As one of the world’s leading communications companies, SoftBank has an opportunity to get ahead of its competitors by implementing quantum-resistant PQC algorithms across its networks and online properties before these threats fully emerge,” said Jack D. Hidary, CEO, SandboxAQ.
SandboxAQ is an enterprise software company delivering SaaS solutions that leverage quantum tech and AI. Based in Palo Alto, California, the inspiration for SandboxAQ and some of its team originated at Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) in 2016. SandboxAQ became an independent, venture-backed entity in 2022 led by successful serial entrepreneur, CEO and author Jack D. Hidary with Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, as Chairman of the Board. For more information visit www.sandboxaq.com.
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