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Quantum technology for secure banking: QuTech teams up with ABN AMRO

“A unique opportunity to test concrete and real applications in practice”

Today, QuTech and ABN AMRO announce a new collaborative agreement that marks the start of a new phase in the application of quantum technology. Together, they will investigate advanced Quantum Key Distribution via glass fibre and through the air, to ensure optimally secured data traffic and make the safety of online and mobile banking future-proof.

The challenge

Most of today’s cryptographic protocols are secure through mathematical problems like the integer factorization problem. Future quantum computers, estimated to become a reality in 10-15 years’ time, may solve these problems much faster than classical computers, thereby breaking current systems for securing internet and mobile banking. The collaboration between QuTech and ABN AMRO, supported by TKI High Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM), aims to make online and mobile banking future-proof. QuTech is the advanced research center for quantum computing and quantum internet, a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO.

Approach

In order to achieve an optimal level of security, the partners focus on the realization of an advanced system for Measurement Device Independent-Quantum Key Distribution (MDI-QKD). With this new form of QKD, multiple users can be connected via a central measurement and then exchange unique and complex codes that are almost impossible to eavesdrop.

QuTech and ABN AMRO will also use a unique combination of different media to further increase security. The quantum connection will be established by laser communication via existing fibre-optic connections, as demonstrated by the labs of David Elkouss and Wolfgang Tittel at QuTech. This fibre-optic connection will be combined with a so-called ‘free space’ (through air) component, developed by TNO Space and Scientific Instrumentation.

Partnership

“The collaboration provides a unique opportunity to test concrete and real applications of quantum technology in practice,” says Kees Eijkel, Director Business Development at QuTech. “Each of the collaborating parties brings a clear and essential specialisation to the project.”

At QuTech, specifically within the Quantum Internet and Networked Computing (QINC) Roadmap, this is expertise of quantum communication systems that create a fundamentally secure connection and generate unique (and secret) codes.

TNO Space and Scientific Instrumentation brings knowledge of (space-based) optical satellite communication. Kees Buijsrogge, Director TNO Space: “It’s fantastic that our knowledge of laser communication can be used to make an important contribution to the systems that secure internet and mobile banking.”

Finally, ABN AMRO focuses on being able to receive and process the quantum key data offered, while guaranteeing quality and security. Edwin van Bommel, Chief Innovation Officer of ABN AMRO: “The initiative is promising, I was quickly convinced that this is a valuable step towards a new ecosystem in combination with a good business case.”

Demonstration

The partners expect to be able to demonstrate a fundamentally safe data connection by the end of 2020, in which quantum communication will be via glass fibre and through air.

Continue reading

Read more about the collaboration in ABN AMRO’s news release, or learn more about quantum internet and its applications in the TU Delft Quantum Internet magazine

Photo: Quantum Internet Credit Scixel TU Delft

News overview