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We can secure our networks against quantum threats today

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Digital transformation is changing the way we live and accelerating the growth of the global digital economy. This transformation needs to be underpinned by telecommunications networks that can provide secure and trusted connectivity to serve the critical needs of any society or businesses.

The threat landscape is rapidly evolving

But there is a new threat to this foundational secured and trusted connectivity. You have likely heard or read about quantum computers in the media or discussed them with your colleagues. These are computers based on the principles of quantum mechanics. They use quantum bits, or qubits, to store and process information. This abstract concept allows a quantum computer to perform massive, parallel computations, at speeds exponentially faster than classic computers.

Quantum computing will provide wide-ranging benefits to our economies and to society in general. By the nature of their operation, they will also have the ability to compromise cryptography frameworks that have delivered secured and trusted connectivity for decades. These same frameworks underpin our expanding global digital economies and digital transformation strategies.

The availability of what the industry is calling a Cryptographically Relevant Quantum Computer (CRQC) is often referred to as Q-Day. It is not a question of if, but when Q-Day arrives. And when it does, quantum computing will render most current encryption schemes obsolete, and threaten the integrity of digital infrastructures and economies.

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How the industry is responding

Interest in the impact of the quantum threat and how we respond to restore the trust and security required of our telecommunications networks continues to grow. The industry is coalescing around the concept of quantum-safe networks.

As a global industry networking leader, Nokia is playing a key role in driving industry dialogue and activities around quantum-safe networks, including speaking about this key topic at important industry events.

There is a line of thought, driven by this computing technology inflection point, that suggests the industry cannot continue to rely on a single cryptography layer by default. Instead, we need an appropriate multilayered or defense in-depth approach to protect our networks against the continued evolution of quantum computing and other potential threats.

While the availability of the CRQC may come in the near term, threat actors are already preparing for Q-Day. Many are collecting encrypted data from target organizations today and storing it so that it can be decrypted when the evolution of quantum computing delivers a CRQC capable of rendering some existing cryptographic algorithms obsolete. The industry refers to this ongoing activity as harvest now, decrypt later (HNDL).

Our industry also needs to reflect on the time required to migrate to quantum-safe cryptography through the lens of the Mosca Equation, which further reinforces that we already have a zero-day vulnerability.

These are severe risks, and the timeline to transition to new post-quantum cryptography security models is uncertain. Our industry must take proactive measures now. We need to plan and deploy quantum-safe cryptography-based solutions in a defense in-depth approach so that we can provide secure and trusted connectivity to enable a quantum-safe global economy and continued digital transformation.

Why choose Nokia quantum-safe networks?

Nokia is addressing this critical need with Quantum-Safe Network cryptography solutions that are available today. We have already deployed these solutions with a range of customers around the world, from critical industries to service providers. These include recently working with Proximus in Belgium and HellasQCI in Greece.

For the Quantum Networks conference in Paris, France on 9-10 April 2024, I have been invited to deliver a conference-opening keynote on securing the quantum future. Some of my Nokia and industry colleagues will also speak on key topics of interest to help drive the evolution and deployment of quantum-safe networks.

We will have a conference booth where you can drop by to discuss your topics of interest with our subject-matter experts and see demonstrations of our innovative quantum-safe network solutions.

We also reinforced our commitment to quantum-safe networks at the recent Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) in San Diego, CA on 26-28 March, 2024, where we delivered live demonstrations of quantum-safe network technologies and solutions, including Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) in an hybrid distribution architecture.

With our Quantum-Safe Network solutions, we are helping our customers adapt to their business needs, scale their quantum-safe deployments, and evolve with the quantum landscape to shield our digital future.

We hope to see you at quantum-safe network events throughout the year!

Please visit Nokia Quantum-Safe Networks for further information on this topic, and learn more about our industry leading solutions.


Martin Charbonneau

About Martin Charbonneau

Martin Charbonneau is a seasoned professional in Nokia’s Network Infrastructure Business Group. Martin’s current focus is Quantum-Safe networking, recognizing the urgency of securing communication infrastructures against quantum threats. Martin was raised and educated in Canada, including a bachelor’s degree from the Canadian Royal Military College (RMC, St-Jean, Canada). He is currently based in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

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