Arqit's quantum encryption platform, called QuantumCloud, is claimed to make the communications links of any networked device secure against current and future forms of hacking - even an attack from a quantum computer. Unlike current "public key infrastructure" or "PKI" encryption, which uses pairs of keys (a public key to encrypt messages and a private key to decrypt messages), QuantumCloud uses symmetric encryption, where only one key (a secret key) is used to both encrypt and decrypt electronic information.
PKI, says the company, is no longer fit for purpose in a hyperconnected world, and within the decade will likely be vulnerable to quantum computer attacks, while symmetric encryption is a well understood encryption technology that is known to be more secure than PKI, including against quantum attack. However, to date there has been no secure way to distribute symmetric encryption keys at scale.
The company says it has invented a way to create those keys at end points when they are needed, at scale, securely, at any kind of end point device and in groups of any size.
"The world needs simpler, stronger cyber security, and Arqit addresses that need," says David Williams, Arqit CEO. "After four years of innovation in stealth mode by a world leading multi- disciplinary teams of scientists and engineers, we are ready to go to market. This technology is important and we need to take it to hyperscale as quickly as possible, because the problems we solve are problems for everyone."
QuantumCloud puts a small software agent at any end point device. This software creates an unlimited number of symmetric keys with partner devices. The process, says the company, is very simple and fast.
Currently the company's system uses source keys that are originated in data centers. However by 2023 the company says it plans to launch two quantum satellites to assume that role, which will use a new quantum protocol invented by the company