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    SK Telecom Takes the Lead in Quantum-Safe Communication Standards

    ByThemba Hadebe

    Nov 18, 2023
    SK Telecom Takes the Lead in Quantum-Safe Communication Standards

    SK Telecom, the Korean operator, is spearheading efforts to establish global standards for quantum-safe communications. At the International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 17 (SG17) meeting taking place at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX), SK Telecom will lead the development of key management standards using hybrid approaches that combine quantum key distribution (QKD) and post-quantum cryptography (PQC).

    ITU-T SG 17 is a statutory group that focuses on security within the ITU-T. The group convenes biannually to devise international standards and technical reports. SK Telecom’s objective is to achieve quantum-safe communications by harnessing the strength of both QKD and PQC.

    Quantum-safe communication refers to the use of technologies that can withstand attacks from quantum computers, ensuring the security of information assets even in the face of large-scale quantum computers. SK Telecom is actively working on the development and commercialization of quantum cryptography technologies. In collaboration with SK Broadband and ID Quantique, the company is not only setting standards for quantum cryptography communication networks using equipment from different manufacturers at the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), but has also successfully verified the technology on a national test network.

    Ha Min-yong, the chief development officer of SK Telecom, expressed excitement about leading the establishment of standards for next-generation security technologies that leverage quantum key distribution and post-quantum cryptography. SK Telecom’s commitment to active research and business aims to contribute to the growth of the global quantum cryptography market.

    In addition to its efforts in quantum-safe communication, SK Telecom recently published a white paper on 6G, highlighting key requirements for 6G standardization and the telco’s perspective on future network evolution. The white paper covers topics such as 6G key requirements, 6G evolution methodology, trends in frequency standardization, analysis of promising 6G use cases, and technology trends.

    SK Telecom envisions that with the commercialization of 6G, mega-trends like artificial intelligence, power-saving technologies, and quantum security will permeate all network areas. Technology specific to each network area, including radio access network, core network, transport network, and aerial network, will be applied and evolved accordingly.

    FAQ

    What is quantum-safe communication?
    Quantum-safe communication refers to the use of technologies that can resist attacks from quantum computers, ensuring the security of information assets.

    What is quantum key distribution (QKD)?
    Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a method that uses quantum mechanics to distribute cryptographic keys securely between two parties.

    What is post-quantum cryptography (PQC)?
    Post-quantum cryptography (PQC) is the study of cryptographic algorithms that can resist attacks by quantum computers.

    Sources:
    – ITU-T Study Group 17: https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/studygroups/2017/Pages/overview.aspx
    – European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI): https://www.etsi.org/