Under a new partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), telcos in Singapore will soon revamp existing fibre networks to fend off attacks by quantum computers in the future.
Quantum computers, or the next generation of computers, use the properties of light to solve problems too complex for traditional computers. Observers believe this will lead to new breakthroughs in medicine, materials and better artificial intelligence. However, the systems can also be used to crack passwords and encryption technology in seconds, creating risks for hospitals, banks and organisations providing essential services to people.
The new nationwide network will ensure that prime institutions are prepared for such threats within the next decade by building a quantum-resistant network. The network, which will also be the region’s first such system, will do this through quantum key distribution, a new type of digital encryption, which exchanges secret keys to access data between intended users. These keys cannot be cracked as any attempt to intercept it will disrupt transmission, introducing errors. The telcos’ networks will be interoperable, allowing users to communicate seamlessly, said IMDA.
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Heng Swee Keat announced the launch of the network during the Asia Tech x Singapore conference on June 6. When ready, Singapore’s quantum-safe networks will be integrated with other cities worldwide, ensuring data shared across borders is safe, said IMDA, which signed an agreement with South Korea on the same day to collaborate in this field.