Cambridge Quantum / Quantinuum launches Quantum Origin bringing cybersecurity platform to the market

Recently the business merged with Honeywell Quantum under the name Quantunuum, has launched its foray into the world of cyber security with a new product named Quantum Origin. This is said to be the first commercial product built using Quantum computers and is a platform that derives cryptographic keys using the output of a quantum computer to ensure data is protected at the foundational level against evolving attacks. Since much of the modern world relies on cryptography for security this sector could be both crucial and of growing importance. Plus a ready use-case of commercialisation of Quantum Computers.

According to CQ:

  • Quantum Origin is the world’s first commercial product built using quantum computers that delivers an outcome that classical computers could not achieve
  • Quantum Origin is the first platform to derive cryptographic keys using the output of a quantum computer  to ensure data is protected at foundational level against evolving attacks 
  • It provides immediate protection to enterprises and governments from current security issues, arising from the use of weaker random number generators (RNGs)
  • Quantum Origin also helps protect against ‘hack now, decrypt later’ attacks, which are already happening and will have future implications
  • The quantum-enhanced cryptographic keys generated by Quantum Origin are based on verifiable quantum randomness and can be integrated into existing systems. The protocol relies on “entanglement”, a unique feature of quantum mechanics.
  • Quantum Origin supports traditional algorithms, such as RSA or AES, as well as post-quantum cryptography algorithms currently being standardised by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)

Quantum Origin

“We have been working for a number of years now on a method to efficiently and effectively use the unique features of quantum computers in order to provide our customers with a defence against adversaries and criminals now and in the future once quantum computers are prevalent,”

Ilyas Khan CEO of Quantinuum and Founder of Cambridge Quantum
One of the Ion Trap devices from Honeywell that, was historically responsible for just hardware before the tie-up with CQ.

Cambridge Quantum is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quantinuum, perhaps the world’s largest integrated quantum computing company (which is a tie-up of Honeywell’s Quantum division)has launched Quantum Origin and claims is the world’s first commercially available cryptographic key generation platform based on verifiable quantum randomness. A number of companies have entered a similar space in developing quantum randomness such as Quantum Dice. It is believed to be the first commercial product built using a noisy, intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computer and has been built to secure the world’s data from both current and future threats to current encryption.

Randomness is thought critical to securing current security solutions as well as protecting systems from the future threat of quantum attacks. These attacks will further weaken some deterministic methods of random number generation (RNG), as well as methods that are not verifiably random and from a quantum source. Developments mean that Quantum Origin is amongst the first commercial applications of Quantum Computing, an important milestone for the entire sector. Providing products will be welcome news to investors, especially in the light of recent stock listings of the likes of IonQ, with more to follow, most likely.

“Quantum Origin gives us the ability to be safe from the most sophisticated and powerful threats today as well threats from quantum computers in the future.”

Ilyas Khan CEO of Quantinuum and Founder of Cambridge Quantum

Security Standards

Current systems are protected by encryption standards such as RSA and AES. Their resilience is based on the inability to “break” a long string from a random number generator (RNG). Today’s RNGs, however, lack true, verifiable randomness; the numbers being generated aren’t as unpredictable as thought, and, as result, such RNGs have been the point of failure in a growing number of cyberattacks. To add to this, the potential threat of quantum attacks is now raising the stakes further, incentivising criminals to steal encrypted data passing over the internet, with a view to decrypting it later using quantum computers. So-called “hack now, decrypt later” attacks. 

Quantum Origin is a cloud-hosted platform that protects against these current and future threats. It uses the unpredictable nature of quantum mechanics to generate cryptographic keys seeded with verifiable quantum randomness from Quantinuum’s H-Series quantum computers, Powered by Honeywell. It supports traditional algorithms, such as RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) or AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), as well as post-quantum cryptography algorithms currently being standardised by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).  

“When we talk about protecting systems using quantum-powered technologies, we’re not just talking about protecting them from future threats. From large-scale takedowns of organisations, to nation state hackers and the worrying potential of ‘hack now, decrypt later’ attacks, the threats are very real today, and very much here to stay. Responsible enterprises need to deploy every defense possible to ensure maximum protection at the encryption level today and tomorrow.”

Duncan Jones, head of cybersecurity at Cambridge Quantum

Quantum-enhanced keys on demand

Duncan Jones, head of cybersecurity at Cambridge Quantum

With Quantum Origin, when an organisation requires quantum-enhanced keys to be generated, it can now make a call via an API. Quantum Origin generates the keys before encrypting them with a transport key and securely relaying them back to the organisation. To give organisations a high level of assurance that their encryption keys are as unpredictable as possible, Quantum Origin tests the entire output from the quantum computers, ensuring that each key is seeded from verifiable quantum randomness. 

These keys are then simple and easy to integrate within customers’ existing systems because they’re provided in a format that can be consumed by traditional cybersecurity systems and hardware. This end-to-end approach ensures key generation is on-demand and is capable of scaling with use, all while remaining secure. 

Quantum Origin in the wild

Quantum Origin keys should be used in any scenario where there is a need for strong cybersecurity. At launch, CQ will offer Quantum Origin to financial services companies and vendors of cybersecurity products before expanding into other high priority sectors, such as telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, defence and government.

The technology has already been used in a series of projects with launch partners. Axiom Space used Quantum Origin to conduct a test of post-quantum encrypted communication between the ISS and Earth — sending the message “Hello Quantum World” back to earth encrypted with post-quantum keys seeded from verifiable quantum randomness. Fujitsu integrated Quantum Origin into its software-defined wide area network (SDWAN) using quantum-enhanced keys alongside traditional algorithms.

Close up of the hardware devices from Honeywell, or now Quantinuum, which is the emergence of Cambridge Quantum and the Honeywell Quantum division. The hardware technology is based around Ion Traps, which are proving a popular qubit technology for a number of companies including IonQ, Universal Quantum amongst others.

Read More about Quantum Origin from CQ / Quantinuum.