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Thales Consortium Aims to Secure European Infrastructures from Quantum Attacks

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Thales has lined up a consortium of roughly 20 technology companies, academics and industry leaders as part of the EuroQCI initiative (European Quantum Communication Infrastructure).

Thales is an IT consultancy specializing in defense and security, aeronautics and space, and digital identity and security.

Protecting Against Cyberattacks From Quantum Computers

The EuroACI aims to develop a quantum communication architecture for EU member states within three years. The goal of the initiative is to secure European infrastructures against cyberattacks from quantum computers in the not-so-distant future.

In less than 20 years, Thales and others believe that quantum computers could leverage their computational power to decode encrypted data and threaten sophisticated communication systems. EuroQCI intends to counter that threat by developing the ultimate systems to safeguard the communications and data assets of critical infrastructure providers and government institutions, Thales said.

The longer-term objective of the initiative is to create a Quantum Information Network (QIN) that not only will guarantee communications security but also create networks of quantum sensors and processors, which could drive exponential increases in the performance of quantum sensors and quantum computers, according to Thales.

The Thales teams taking part in these projects are working to develop quantum key generation, distribution and management equipment and the associated communication encryption devices, as well as defining the architecture of these quantum communication infrastructures.

Quantum Security Innovations

Along those lines, Thales is a member of multiple new consortia that have been set up since late 2022 in these domains:

  • Quantum repeaters. QIA (Quantum Internet Alliance), led by the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, is working to demonstrate the feasibility of connecting users in two metropolitan areas 500km apart, using quantum repeaters, which can compensate for the loss of information via a quantum memory.
  • Quantum key distribution. QKISS, coordinated by Exail, and QUARTER, led by LuxQuanta, are developing Quantum Key Distribution systems to protect users' critical communications from cyberattacks.
  • Certification of quantum communication. PETRUS led by Deutsche Telekom is the official coordinator of 32 EuroQCI projects, on behalf of the European Commission. It is also developing a framework for certification and accreditation of quantum communication products and networks.
  • Satellites quantum communications. TeQuantS, led by Thales Alenia Space, aims at developing quantum space-to-earth communications technologies, necessary for cybersecurity applications and future quantum information networks, through the construction of satellites and optical ground stations by the end of 2026.

Thales operates the largest quantum physics research facilities in Europe, in partnership with the CNRS. Some 100 engineers and researchers are currently engaged in the development of the quantum solutions (sensors, communications and algorithms) that will play a foundational role in tomorrow's world. These new consortia will all benefit from Thales's multi-disciplinary expertise, in particular in the field of secure communication networks.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.