Verizon Testing “Quantum Safe” VPN

Verizon is testing “Quantum Safe” VPN (virtual private network) deployments for extending data protection to thwart future remote-hack attempts. This technology uses session key exchange security mechanisms or cryptographic ciphers to enhance encryption methodology and make it more difficult to hack.

In a recent trial, Verizon pursued replacing public key encryption methods with Quantum Safe VPN to establish encryption keys using post quantum cryptography (PQC); keys or ciphers were exchanged between remote private 5G networks in London and Ashburn, V.A., U.S.. The goal was to demonstrate that PQC adoption could prepare data from tomorrow’s attacks, in a manner comparable to that which is being tested by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

“Verizon continues to innovate and test new quantum technologies because now is the time to assess risks of security breaches and develop mitigation strategies to ensure safe networks and communications in the future for consumers and enterprises,” said Jean McManus, Executive Director of Applied Research with Verizon. “While it may be five to 10 years before quantum computers are powerful enough to break today’s encryption used in e-commerce and VPNs, it’s important to explore new security methods today to ensure our information is safe down the road.”

The news follows Verizon’s 2020 pilot of quantum key distribution (QKD), whereby live video was captured outside of three company locations in the Washington, D.C. area. Using a QKD network, quantum keys were created and exchanged over a fiber network between Verizon locations. The trial demonstrated that encryption keys could be continuously distributed in a secure manner, thus preventing and detecting eavesdropping.