The Race Against Q Day: Patero’s Data Security for the Quantum Era

Quantum encryption helps secure critical data streams to protect against a breach of our critical infrastructure. Federal mandates will lead to a frenzy of activity in quantum security, and system integrators can lead the transition.

 

Image credit: Patero

Quantum computing is a threat to national security. Once mature, it will be able to crack today’s encryption codes in minutes and, if used nefariously, can cripple our energy, water, healthcare, finance, transportation, and defense systems. Most security measures today resist human and supercomputing ciphers, but quantum computing will change that.

Q Day is when a nation-state uses quantum computing to attack the US. The threat of Q Day looms over owners and operators of critical infrastructure. Some claim Q Day is two to ten years away, and others say it is only months out.

The fear is cause enough for increased federal regulations: The recently issued National Security Memorandum-10 (NSM-10) initiative, which more than doubles federal monies for quantum technology research and development. Last year, President Biden signed an executive order mandating that public and private owners of critical infrastructure step up protections as a national security measure.

 

Zero-trust Security

The hardening of American infrastructure presents an opportunity for security-minded system integrators. All critical infrastructure must meet or exceed zero-trust security protocols, which means those environments will need additional security platforms and a trusted pathway to quantum security.

“Legacy equipment in many critical infrastructure segments, like power and water utilities, wasn't designed to withstand cyberattacks,” says Peter Bentley, COO of Patero. “Moreover, the pressure to digitalize operations without a security-led strategy has increased attack surfaces. System integrators that identify next-generation security providers with the capability to work with both new and legacy systems will help industrial control systems (ICS) operators reduce attack surfaces and protect their investment in digital technologies."

Data security company Patero is ready. Patero has developed a proven hybrid post-quantum encryption that critical infrastructure companies can roll out today. Patero CryptoQoR is a software-based crypto module that can be deployed on a broad range of compute options, including industrial gateways or chips to create a secure digital tunnel between trusted endpoints. It uses an operator’s existing digital security certificates, adding a layer of quantum-resistant algorithms to create a blended key, says Kristin Kelly, head of strategy for Patero.

“We know traditional encryption has been working well, and we can’t risk a full shift to quantum encryption before the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) completes its standardization process,” Kelly says. “Our solution combines traditional ciphers with NIST-qualified ciphers and provides an easy post-quantum encryption path as NIST starts certifying more algorithms.”

Image credit: Patero

Better Protection Through Hybrid

Patero’s hybrid approach offers key benefits:

  • It allows companies to deploy quantum security protection over their existing equipment, easing the transition to next level security.
  • It allows the chief information security officers (CISOs) to apply current budget money to harden the network.

Patero is working with Intel® Solutions Marketplace collaborator Arrow Electronics, which supplies the gateway hardware for the customer. “The industrial SIs we are engaging with now understand their customer needs, and they are asking us how to deploy and engage with their customers,” Kelly says. “They are building a digital information system for critical infrastructure, and we can help them bake the security right into it.”

Being part of the integrator’s deployment team is important. “There’s no way to be ‘security-led’ if you’re building it in after,” Kelly says. “If we’re working with an SI, we want to be part of the architecture of the solution, so it is updatable, secure, and state of the art.”

 

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