Danish academics are heralding a breakthrough in IT security after completing a secure transfer of financial data using quantum communication.
The transaction involved researchers from Demark’s Technical University, KPMG and Copenhagen-based Danske Bank.
Data was transferred between two of the bank’s computers that simulated data centres using continuous variable quantum key distribution, technology developed at DTU that enables the creation and sharing of secure encryption keys using standard telecom fibre optics.
This means that the technology can be used in the bank’s network and eventually in other critical infrastructures and financial institutions. (CV-QKD). Developed at DTU, it enables the creation and sharing of secure encryption keys “with the help of standard telecom fibre optics.” Therefore, it can be used in the bank’s network and “eventually in other critical infrastructures where security is paramount.”
Claimed to be the first data transfer secured by quantum keys in the Nordics outside of a laboratory, the demonstration was described as “promising for future data security and society’s race against cyber criminals”.
According to Tobias Gehring, associate professor, DTU department of physics, the use of quantum mechanics for IT security instead of standard encryption methods, means that “data transfers are impossible to hack unless you break the laws of physics”.
Lance McGrath, chief security officer, Danske Bank, added: "We are very proud to help the researchers reach this milestone and at the same time gain first-hand experience of quantum-safe data transfer, which potentially has great significance for the future security of digital communication.”
Cyber security is likely to become a much bigger focus for fund managers and their service providers in the years to come due to the increased scrutiny on where firms are investing and their underlying holdings.
Up to date, quantum computing has only featured as a theme for ETF promoters but news of a successful data transfer should provoke curiousity as to how the technology can be used in firms’ operations and not just as an investment theme.