Quantum-embedded chips could secure IoT

Microprocessors that are unique to each Internet of Things (IoT) device is the way forward in the ongoing and tricky quest to secure the IoT, says Crypto Quantique. One idea is that by making each chip one of a kind and unclonable, an application would become almost impossible to hack.

The U.K.-based startup says it has introduced “the world’s most advanced security product for IoT devices.” The microprocessor-based solution uses quantum physics, combined with cryptography, all embedded in silicon, it explained in a press release last October.

“The world’s first quantum-driven secure chip (QDSC), on silicon, which, when combined with cryptographic APIs, provides highly scalable, integratable, easy-to-implement and seamless end-to-end security for any connected device,” the company claims. The chips generate large quantities of unique cryptographic keys using quantum processes, Crypto Quantique explains.

Quantum computing, overall, is ideally suited for applications that need to be aware of and thwart any tampering. For example, attempted hijacking of quantum-entangled data, in a quantum-secured link adulterates the co-mingled data and cryptographic keys and notifies the system that the keys are now no good. The keys, thus, can’t be used anymore, and the traffic appears unreadable. Additionally, the intrusion is immediately picked up by the administrators. It’s all due to the way the data is co-joined and entangled. Roughly, the beginning of the stream, in this case, should be in the same state as at the end. If it isn’t, there’s been interference.

“This is the iPhone moment for the IoT security category,” Crypto Quantique co-founder Shahram Mossayebi says of QDSC in the press release. “It represents a complete step change; we’ve built something completely unique.”

Interestingly, the QDSC design would solve a dichotomy inherent in IoT, which is that one wants the devices to be cheap, often lightweight and small, with low power consumption yet also secure. However, added traditional cryptography takes up memory, making the device more cumbersome. (I wrote more about this problem last week and how edge computing could help.)