KIRAS Security Research

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Projects of the joint German-Austrian call

Cooperative Research and Innovation Projects >Call 2020 >

QKD4GOV – Quantum-safe Cryptography for Securing Governmental data

Establishment of a secure communication network between public authorities to investigate novel encryption schemes based on quantum key distribution (QKD) and post-quantum cryptography (PQC).

Data security and data autonomy is a fundamental necessity for the governmental sector and critical infrastructure in order to secure economic competitiveness as well as national security - especially in times of increasing global threats under the ongoing power struggle between the USA and China for technological world leadership in the IT sector. The protection of confidential data, data integrity and data authentication using current encryption methods is threatened by global developments and investments in quantum computers, since asymmetrical encryption methods (public key cryptography) used today can be broken by quantum computers. It is therefore necessary to develop new encryption technologies and systems that are “quantum-safe”.

The operational use of this new technology is currently being promoted by the European Union (EU) through the specific 10-year research and innovation program “EuroQCI – Quantum Communication Infrastructure” and first demonstrations are planned by 2023. Austria and in particular the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology has taken on an internationally leading role in this area and launched the QKD4GOV project, supported by the Austrian Security Research Programme KIRAS, with several national partners. The aim of QKD4GOV is to demonstrate QKD-based encryption technology for highly secure communication between governmental authorities. By setting up a test infrastructure, research into new schemes such as the combination of post-quantum-based encryption technology with QKD takes place in QKD4GOV.

For this purpose, a QKD demonstration network will be installed via inner-city fiber optic connections in Vienna, which connects the Federal Chancellery (BKA) as a central node with the three federal ministries: Ministry of Defense (BMLV), the Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and the Ministry of European and International Affairs (BmeiA). With the help of research partners and industrial companies, modern QKD-based key management is developed and new security applications such as secret sharing and message authentication are verified for future use by public authorities. Close cooperation between public bodies and Austrian companies ensures that the security requirements from the point of view of the IT-security end-user are considered in the development of QKD security technology. In addition to the technological research outcomes, the results from QKD4GOV are also the basis for the positioning and potentially active leadership of Austria in the European EuroQCI initiative and will flow into the future national cryptography-infrastructure for governmental authorities.

Project coordination
Dr. Hannes Hübel (Coordinator)
Dr. Andreas Poppe (Deputy)
Ing. Florian Kutschera (Technical coordination)
Organisation: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

Additional project partners:
fragmentiX Storage Solutions GmbH
X-Net Services GmbH
CableRunner Austria GmbH & Co. KG
Universität Wien – Institut für Europarecht
Bundeskanzleramt Österreich (BKA)
Bundesministerium für europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten (BMeiA)
Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung (BMLV)
Bundesministerium für Inneres (BMI)
ACOnet

Contact:
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
Dr. Hannes Hübel, hannes.huebel@ait.ac.at, +43 50550 4453
Ing. Florian Kutschera, florian.kutschera@ait.ac.at, +43 50550 4210
https://www.ait.ac.at/en/about-the-ait/center/center-for-digital-safety-security