Copenhagen’s Danske Bank Tests Quantum Communication for Enabling Secure Data Transfer

Researchers from DTU (Denmark’s Technical University) have for the first time taken quantum communication out of the lab and used it to “securely transfer” data at Danske Bank. This is considered a breakthrough in the development of digital communication and the “race against cyber criminals.”

Many years’ work developing secure quantum communication at DTU has “culminated in researchers, in collaboration with consultancy firm KPMG, successfully transferring data between two of Danske Bank’s computers that simulate data centers.”

The demonstration which has been completed is “promising for future data security and society’s race against cyber criminals.” The event marked the first data transfer in the Nordics “secured by quantum keys on a network outside a laboratory.”

As a bank, the firm explained that it has a responsibility to constantly seek new ways “to protect our customers’ data and ensure that we are a step ahead of the criminals in the tech arms race.”

Lance McGrath, Chief Security Officer, Danske Bank, stated:

“We are very proud to help the researchers reach this milestone and at the same time gain first-hand experience of quantum-safe data transfer, which potentially has great significance for the future security of digital communication.”

The tech used is ‘continuous variable quantum key distribution’ (CV-QKD). Developed at DTU, it enables the creation and sharing of secure encryption keys “with the help of standard telecom fibre optics.” Therefore, it can be used in the bank’s network and “eventually in other critical infrastructures where security is paramount.”

Their approach is reportedly different and instead “uses the fundamental unpredictability and randomness of quantum mechanics as the source of security.” This way, they are able to “create the foundation for data transfers that are impossible to hack unless you break the laws of physics.”

Tobias Gehring, Associate professor, DTU Department of Physics, said:

“Data security using standard encryption methods is based on great mathematical complexity. You can think of it as a calculation where the solution is very difficult to find but, conversely, where it is very easy to check whether a solution is correct. Our approach is different and instead uses the fundamental unpredictability and randomness of quantum mechanics as the source of security. This way we create the foundation for data transfers that are impossible to hack unless you break the laws of physics.”

He added

“Our technology exploits quantum physics to provide the sender and receiver with the keys they need to encrypt and decrypt their data while ensuring that no one else has knowledge of the keys,” he explains.

KPMG has contributed with financing and technological assistance to the quantum-safe data transfer experiment at Danske Bank – and “according to KPMG we should all begin to quantum-secure our data transfers.”

Bent Dalager, Partner in KPMG’s NewTech department, remarked:

“The incredible power of quantum computers could easily break the encryption our entire digital society is built on. It underlines the importance of projects like these that take the first steps towards securing our data from hacking in a future that will become reality within the next ten years,”

For more details on this announcement, click here.

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