TECHNOLOGY

Luxembourg’s quantum technology encryption network is being led by SES

SES, a satellite operator, is heading a consortium to create a system to protect communications in Luxembourg from cyberattacks that could feed into Europe’s larger plan for the network protected by the quantum technology as well. Luxembourg’s government coordinates the (LuxQCI) (Quantum Communications Infrastructure) project, and the consortium will design a satellite and the terrestrial network for it.

LuxQCI will use quantum mechanics to allocate encryption keys, which will be more secure than the networks that presently encrypt the majority of the world’s communications.  Its goal is to protect the communications networks surrounding financial transactions, confidential data, power grids, and other vital infrastructure from cyberattacks.

It comes as a series of latest cyberattacks in the United States highlight the need to strengthen network security. Kaseya, a software company, based in the United States, told Reuters on July 5 that an attack on its operations had impacted between 800 to 500 businesses around the world. In May, a separate attack shut down a pipeline in the United States that supplies a substantial amount of jet fuel and gasoline to the East Coast SES, based in Luxembourg, is in charge of the latest consortium through its wholly-owned subsidiary SES Techcom, a solutions company. InCert, an IT infrastructure public agency, LuxConnect, which is a consultancy itrust, data center firm, LuxTrust, which is a digital solutions provider, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability, and Trust of University of Luxembourg are all based Luxembourg.

According to SES Chief Executive Officer Steve Collar, satellite-enabled cybersecurity will be a critical component of credible quantum communications infrastructures. When the consortium was announced on July 13, Collar said, “The secure and the intrusion-resistant data exchange processes created here will offer as a flagship venture that can be recreated on a larger European scale.” A wider EuroQCI (European Quantum Communication Infrastructure) project is being developed in Europe to become a federation of the national networks across the continent. Luxembourg was one of the first 7 of 27 members of European Union to sign up for EuroQCI, which was launched by European Commission in 2019 June but is still in its early stages.

Airbus announced on May 31 that it would lead a consortium to create EuroQCI, with a 15-month research contract secured. Suzanne Ong, a spokesperson for SES, said the consortium it leads would devote the next several months to determining the scope of the LuxQCI and how it can best assist other European Union member states. “The study will serve as a foundation for implementing its findings outside Luxembourg to fulfil greater European QCI objectives and enable such an infrastructure scalable,” Ong added. Arqit, a British business that is in the process of going public, wants to gather $400 million for the quantum technology encryption network. The company said on June 11 that it is working on a federated version of the network with the authorities of Japan, Italy, Belgium, Canada, Austria, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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