- Vodafone and SandboxAQ conducted a proof-of-concept test for a quantum-secure Virtual Private Network (VPN).
- Testing involves using a standard smartphone specially modified by Vodafone and SandboxAQ using the NIST cryptographic algorithm.
- Vodafone is uniquely positioned to leverage its global collaboration, technology sharing and deep expertise in combating emerging threats, such as quantum hacking.
Vodafone, a leading telco, has partnered with SandboxAQ, a spin-off of Alphabet, to conduct a proof-of-concept test for a quantum-secure Virtual Private Network (VPN), according to Vodafone blog post. The goal of this test is to improve the security of the millions of workers who rely on VPNs to securely access company systems through their devices.
Testing involves using a standard smartphone specially modified by Vodafone and SandboxAQ using cryptographic algorithms from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). By adapting smartphones, Vodafone and SandboxAQ can evaluate the latest NIST standards in real-life telecommunications settings, providing valuable insights into quantum risks and their potential impact on network security.
Emma Smith, Director of Cyber Security at Vodafone, writes about the importance of tackling quantum threats while leveraging the potential benefits of quantum computing. He stated, “On the one hand, quantum computing has the potential to quickly solve ultra-complex problems, but on the other hand, it could undermine current cryptography. This is why we are playing an active role in the transition to a quantum-safe world.”
The collaboration between Vodafone, technology partners and industry body GSMA is focused on exploring quantum security defenses to protect customers, governments and society against future threats. Governments around the world have adopted NIST standards to mitigate the potential risks associated with quantum computing.
Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Head of Research and Development, describes a “Save Now, Decrypt Later” attack, in which an adversary steals encrypted data for future decryption with a quantum computer. While cryptographically relevant quantum computers may be around a few years away, the threats posed by quantum-enabled attackers are here today.
Ibbetson added, “The experiment involved synthetic traffic assessments and real data sessions created by internal volunteers from several countries where we operate, along with project teams. We examine the impact of post-quantum cryptography on the activities many of us do every day. This includes web browsing, social media and chat application use, video and audio streaming, and mobile gaming using PQC-enabled mobile handsets, helping to test network performance and assess user experience.”
Acknowledging the urgency of the situation, Vodafone has initiated new cryptographic testing in collaboration with industry players to address potential vulnerabilities. As the cyber risk landscape remains volatile, Vodafone’s global team of 900 cybersecurity experts is committed to protecting customers and the wider community.
Vodafone’s scale and reach allow it to leverage global collaboration, technology sharing and deep expertise in combating emerging threats. Additionally, the company is well positioned to take advantage of the significant benefits of quantum technology, such as improved network optimization, energy savings, reduced costs, and improved connectivity for customers around the world.
The successful implementation of a quantum-secure VPN solution will provide an important layer of protection against future quantum-enabled attacks, ensuring the continued security of sensitive data and communications in an evolving digital landscape.