SK Telecom using quantum cryptography for 5G security

20 Mar 2019

South Korean mobile carrier SK Telecom said it will use quantum cryptography technology to ensure security of its 5G mobile networks.

The mobile carrier said Monday it has completed applying Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) technology of ID Quantique (IDQ), to its 5G subscriber authentication center. The move is designed to prevent hacking and ensure quantum-safe security.

“The subscriber authentication process is the first and essential step in verifying a mobile device user before he/she is granted access to any voice and video data service, SMS, etc,” SK Telecom said in a statement.

“Security in this process is crucial since the leakage of authentication key value can lead to serious crimes such as eavesdropping and hacking.”

In February 2018, SK Telecom invested $65 million into IDQ to accelerate development of quantum technologies for the IoT and telecoms markets.

SKT plans to expand the use of QRNG in its long-term evolution (LTE) networks in April.

The mobile carrier will also strengthen security further by applying IDQ’s quantum key distribution (QKD) technology to its 5G and LTE networks between Seoul and Daejeon - the area which has highest mobile data traffic in the country- next month.

QKD provides cryptographic security based on the laws of quantum mechanics. It enables two parties to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages, the mobile carrier noted.

“As security emerges as one of the most important issues in the 5G era, SK Telecom is determined to provide the most secure 5G network and focus on expanding the ecosystem by developing quantum cryptography technologies,” SK Telecom CTO Park Jin-hyo said.

SKT will further enhance the safety and security of its mobile networks by expanding the application of quantum cryptography technologies by stages, Park added.

Image credit: iStock photo

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