Quantum Computing

HSBC Becomes First Bank to Join Quantum Secure Metro Network in UK

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Insider Summary

  • HSBC is the first bank to join BT and Toshiba’s commercial quantum secure metro network.
  • Using Quantum Key Distribution, HSBC connects their global headquarters in Canary Wharf and data center in Berkshire.
  • Network helps business explores how this technology can defend against future cyberthreats and quantum attacks.

PRESS RELEASE — HSBC is the first bank to join BT and Toshiba’s quantum secure metro network – connecting two locations in the UK using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) to prepare its global operations against future cyberthreats. The technology will be tested in a number of scenarios, including financial transactions, secure video communications, and one-time-pad encryption, as well as AWS edge computing capabilities using AWS Snowball Edge devices.

HSBC will test transmission of quantum secure test data via fiber optic cable between its global headquarters in Canary Wharf and a data center in Berkshire, 62 km away. QKD is an important technology that uses light particles and the fundamental properties of quantum physics to transmit secret keys between parties. This key can be used to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data and keep it safe from eavesdroppers or cyber attacks by quantum computers.

HSBC Bank Plc and HSBC Europe CEO Colin Bell said: “Our customers, clients and employees expect us to have safe and secure operations and robust cybersecurity, so we must stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we’ve prepared our global operations for the quantum future. We are pioneering industry-leading trials, recruiting highly trained experts, and investing in strong and strategic partnerships to explore how we can apply this technology as it evolves. Today’s achievements demonstrate the importance of collaboration and demonstrate the significant innovation and progress that can be achieved when industry leaders come together.”

The insights generated by HSBC’s exploration of quantum-secure communications could have far-reaching implications for banks – providing critical evidence of the superiority of quantum technologies and driving the development of applications in financial cybersecurity.

HSBC quantum scientists, cybercrime experts and finance specialists will be better able to analyze the potential threats posed by powerful quantum computers and devise strategies to protect sensitive information.

In the future, experts predict QKD will play a key role in protecting financial transactions, client data and proprietary information across the financial sector. HSBC processed 4.5 billion payments for their customers last year, with an estimated value of £3.5 trillion. These electronic payments rely on encryption to protect customers and businesses from cyber attacks.

HSBC’s quantum strategy includes trials of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC). HSBC is also exploring applications in quantum computing across optimization, simulation and machine learning.

BT Chief Security and Networks Officer Howard Watson said: “As the UK’s leading network provider, it is critical for us to ensure our digital infrastructure remains secure against new, quantum-based threats. After launching the world’s first trial of a quantum-secured commercial metro network in partnership with Toshiba, we are pleased that HSBC has become the first bank to join the fray. This pilot enables global industry partners to collaborate on the next era of network security. We look forward to innovating together to develop and prove further use cases, demonstrating the power of quantum communications in the UK and around the world. ”

Shunsuke Okada, Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Toshiba Corporation said: “Toshiba has supported the advancement of quantum technology for more than 30 years, including the development of our QKD quantum security solutions. Collaboration and partnerships play a key role in this. The commercial trial – bringing together Toshiba’s QKD technology, AWS edge compute services, and Toshiba’s and BT’s quantum secure metro network, will provide secure and effective communications for HSBC. This quantum-secure connection leveraging AWS edge computing services in a commercial network represents a watershed moment in the adoption and commercialization of quantum-secure networks. We look forward to working with HSBC to keep their customer data secure and continue to apply quantum technology to real-life use cases.”

AWS Vice President of Engineering Bill Vass said: “Quantum Networking is a core pillar of AWS’s quantum strategy for exploring quantum technologies and delivering new solutions to customers. This proof of concept is an exciting and important step towards understanding the commercial viability and scalability required to advance quantum networks from the lab to the real world. HSBC is a great example of an innovator gearing up for the quantum age. By investing in and developing a quantum-resilient cryptographic strategy today, they are laying the groundwork for building a highly secure communication approach for the future and keeping data security a top priority for customers.”

HSBC places its customers at the heart of everything they do as they strive to deliver the next generation of digital banking products and services. With their size and global reach, they deliver digital innovation to customers around the world with speed and scale, with greater resilience and lower costs. Working with influential technology organizations and innovative fintech, HSBC is playing a leading role in the evolution of financial services globally.

Leveraging the latest technology, they can better understand their customers’ needs and respond more quickly – providing a seamless, personalized experience – available anywhere, anytime. They embrace and apply digital innovation to transform banking and open up a world of opportunity for HSBC’s customers, colleagues and the future.

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