SK Telecom aims to expand application of advanced quantum security solution to defense and public sectors

By Lim Chang-won Posted : May 25, 2022, 11:09 Updated : May 25, 2022, 11:10

[Courtesy of SK Telecom]

SEOUL -- SK Telecom, a leading mobile carrier in South Korea, will expand the application of its advanced quantum security solution to defense and public sectors that require very high levels of security by developing products such as network equipment with enhanced security in cooperation with three domestic tech firms.

Quantum cryptography has emerged as an essential solution for safeguarding critical information because it is impossible to copy data encoded in a quantum state. SK Telecom (SKT) has used its smallest quantum random number generator (QRNG) chip to generate numbers encoded in a quantum state, in partnership with its subsidiary, ID Quantique (IDQ), a Geneva-based leader in quantum-safe cryptography and quantum sensing solutions.

The QRNG chip can be installed in Internet of Things (IoT) products and allows smartphone holders to use selected services safely by generating true random numbers that cannot be hacked. SKT is trying to apply its technology to various areas such as IoT, banking, urban air mobility (UAM) and connected car technologies such as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) that uses mobile networks to connect vehicles to traffic lights and moving vehicles.

SKT said it would develop next-generation QRNG chips with price competitiveness to broaden a quantum ecosystem. "We will strengthen quantum businesses at home and abroad by establishing an ecosystem of quantum security technologies," SKT's chief development officer Ha Min-yong said in a statement on May 25.

SKT works with Korea Computer Systems (KCS), a security solution company, to develop a quantum crypto chip that can be used in drones, surveillance cameras, military equipment, railway and other public businesses, home networking, IP cameras and autonomous driving. KCS hopes for commercialization in early 2023.

With SKT's technology, Btree, a semiconductor design company, aims to commercialize next-generation chips in early 2024 that will achieve technological evolution in generating quantum random numbers. The news chips will be smaller, cheaper and more efficient than existing chips. 

In 2021, SKT and Octatco, a biometric authentification startup, developed a fingerprint recognition security key called "EzQuant" that can be used for financial services, defense, online administration and smart offices.

SKT and Octatco have set a goal of linking EzQuant with global office platforms and applying it to services in the U.S. and other countries. "We will accelerate various security certification projects through business cooperation with SKT and use them as momentum for growth," Octatco CEO Lee Jae-hyung was quoted as saying.

EzQuant combined QRNG technology with a card-type fingerprint security key based on fast identity online (FIDO), a technology that performs personal authentication using biometric technology without ID or password in an online environment. EzQuant can be applied to FIDO-based services around the world. 
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