Cyber criminals are always prowling today’s networks. In preparation for Europe’s quantum communications network, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC) have joined forces with their sights set on security.
Magali Vaissiere, director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, says, “Only by stimulating innovation can Europe place itself at the forefront of technology, and nowhere is this more critical than in the field of secure communications.”
“It is our shared ambition to demonstrate that space-based solutions can provide a vital part of the European institutional quantum communications infrastructure. ESA is therefore making available its expertise in satellite and optical communications, in order to meet the technological challenges of delivering quantum key distribution services, which are not achievable by terrestrial solutions alone,” Vaissiere adds.
According to the ESA, responsibility will fall on the EC’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology (DG Connect) for the quantum communication infrastructure’s Earth-based components. The ESA, on the other hand, will bear responsibility for the non-terrestrial side of the equation, consisting of satellite quantum communication systems.
The space tech contributions fall under the ESA’s Security and Cryptographic (SAGA) mission.
“In the next five to 10 years, both our infrastructure and encryption systems risk being compromised by ever more powerful computing brute force, and by the advent of quantum computing itself,” warns Roberto Viola, director-general of DG Connect. “Today DG Connect is signing a technical agreement with the European Space Agency to prepare a secure end-to-end quantum communication infrastructure that could protect the EU’s sensitive data and digital infrastructure.”
Viola continues to say that the technology can reach beyond just quantum communication, and influence applications such as authentication, digital signatures, and clock synchronization.