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EU launches Nostradamus and prepares Europe for a quantum world

16/01/2024

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Deutsche Telekom-led consortium responsible for building EUs quantum communications testing infrastructure.

Partners are Thales and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology

EU is strengthening the protection of its communications networks, data centers and critical infrastructure.

Quantum communications to form critical pillar of Europe's security architecture.

Deutsche Telekom/ GettyImages/JuSun; Montage: Evelyn Ebert Meneses

Europe is giving the go-ahead for the next technological leap for secure digitalization. The European Commission has commissioned a consortium ( Nostradamus ) led by Deutsche Telekom to build the testing infrastructure for quantum key distribution (QKD). This will enable the evaluation of European manufacturers' QKD devices. Partners in the consortium are Thales, global leader in advanced technologies, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, as well as experts from across industry and academia. This paves the way for the implementation of EuroQCI - a highly secure pan-European communication network based on quantum technology. The governments of all EU member states and their citizens stand to benefit from more secure critical infrastructure.

The goal is the development of European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI). It is intended to provide more security for data centers, communications networks and critical infrastructure such as hospitals and power plants - via fiber optics and satellite. Quantum physics provides additional protection against new threats for today's communication networks. The use of quantum technology is a key pillar of the EUs strategy for cyber security in the coming decades.

EU satellite transmission to rely on quantum technology

The future encrypted EU satellite network IRIS2 (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite) also relies on EuroQCI. It is intended to provide governments with communication services and network critical infrastructure. In future, IRIS2 will also provide companies and organizations with fast satellite internet. After Galileo for navigation and Copernicus for earth observation, IRIS2 is the third pillar of the EUs space infrastructure. The EU gave the green light for IRIS2 last year. The first services are due to be launched this year. Full operation is planned for 2027.

Daniela Theisinger, Managing Director of Deutsche Telekom Global Business Belgium, explains: Nostradamus exemplifies Deutsche Telekom's commitment to pushing the boundaries of digital security. This collaborative effort not only enhances European cybersecurity but also underscores the importance of strategic partnerships in advancing technological resilience.

Joan Mazenc, Head of Thales ITSEF (IT Security Evaluation Facility), says: Thales is particularly proud to contribute to the protection of the EU communications networks and infrastructure. As a leader in advanced technologies, the Group is determined to develop an attack laboratory aimed at responding to quantum threats. This laboratory will identify methods for evaluating ground-based quantum key devices, based on fiber optic technology.

Helmut Leopold, Head of Center for Digital Safety & Security at AIT, explains: In addition to the quantum technology know-how at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, a high level of expertise is required to test and verify new and innovative products, processes and tools. This demands a close collaboration between research and industry and a fundamental understanding of quantum encryption and IT security. We are proud to bring together world-leading expertise to pave the way for the market introduction of advanced security products to support Europes digital sovereignty.

About Quantum Key Distribution

Quantum Key Distribution uses the principles of quantum mechanics to secure communication. The keys for decoding information are sent using single photons (quantum light particles). Any attempt to intercept these photons leaves traces in their physical state and can be used to indicate possible eavesdropping. This technology ensures fundamentally secure data exchange. QKD represents the pinnacle of cyber security.

About Thales

Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies within three domains: Defence & Security, Aeronautics & Space, and Digital Identity & Security. It develops products and solutions that help make the world safer, greener and more inclusive.

The Group invests close to 4 billion a year in Research & Development, particularly in key areas such as quantum technologies, Edge computing, 6G and cybersecurity.

Thales has 77,000 employees in 68 countries. In 2022, the Group generated sales of 17.6 billion.

About AIT Austrian Institute of Technology

Over the past decade, AIT has gained an excellent international reputation as a specialist in both terrestrial and satellite-based quantum cryptography and as a coordinator of major European projects, such as the project OpenQKD as well as a strong partner in several highly competitive European Quantum Flagship projects. Currently, the work of quantum researchers is focused in particular on the miniaturization of the devices required for quantum communication with the aims to develop quantum technologies for the mass market. Together with other European partners, AIT coordinates the EU-funded EuroQCI project QCI-CAT which aims to establish a quantum communication network within Austria. Further information: https://qci-cat.at/ and https://www.ait.ac.at/en/dss.

Documents

EU launches Nostradamus and prepares Europe for a quantum.pdf

Contact

Marion Bonnet, Press and social media manager, Security and Cyber

33 (0)6 60 38 48 92 marion.bonnet@thalesgroup.com

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