The GSMA has partnered with IBM and Vodafone to form the GSMA Post-Quantum Telco Network Taskforce, which the trio say will support the roadmap for post-quantum cryptology.
Their goal is to help shape operator policy, regulation, and business processes for better telecommunications protection as quantum computing plays a greater role.
Instead of relying on bits for computation like today’s computers, quantum machines take advantage of the exponential power of quantum bits, called qubits. This involves a simultaneous mixing of 0s and 1s and opens up the possibility of solving complex problems that today’s supercomputers face.
The task force was set up to help navigate these new waters. The team will help define requirements, identify dependencies, and create the roadmap to implement a secure quantum network, to help mitigate potential risks.
“The aim of the GSMA Taskforce is to bring together the world’s leading communications service providers with experts from IBM, Vodafone and other carriers and ecosystem partners to understand and implement quantum security technology “said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA.
These future quantum-safe controls will aim to protect sensitive business information and consumer data from attackers harvesting current data for later decryption.
It won’t be a small feat either. In its announcement, the GSMA noted the World Economic Forum’s recent estimate that more than 20 billion devices will need to be upgraded or replaced over the next 10 to 20 years in order to use new forms of encrypted communication at quantum security.
“By working together to establish consistent policies, we can define quantum security approaches that protect critical infrastructure and customer data, complementing our ongoing security efforts to increase the resilience of future networks,” Sinclair added.
In July 2022, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it had chosen the first four post-quantum cryptography algorithms to be standardized for cybersecurity in the age of quantum computing.
These were designed to build on the computational difficulty of problems in mathematical domains such as networks, isogenies, hash functions and multivariate equations, and protect current systems from future quantum machines.
Task force member IBM, which has the largest fleet of cloud-accessible quantum computers in the world, helped develop three of the four chosen algorithms.
“Given the accelerating advances in quantum computing, data and systems secured with today’s encryption could become dangerous within a few years,” warned Scott Crowder, vice president of IBM Quantum Adoption and Business Development.
“IBM is pleased to work with members of the GSMA Post-Quantum Telco Network Task Force to prioritize the telecommunications industry’s decision to embrace quantum-safe technology.”
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