HSBC joins UK’s commercial quantum secure metro network
By Gloria Methri
HSBC has joined BT and Toshiba’s quantum-secured metro network – connecting two UK sites using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) to prepare its global operations against future cyber threats.
This technology will be trialed in multiple scenarios, including financial transactions, secure video communications, and one-time-pad encryption, as well as AWS edge computing capabilities using an AWS Snowball Edge device.
HSBC will trial the quantum secure transmission of test data over fiber-optic cables between its global HQ in Canary Wharf and a data centre in Berkshire, 62km away. QKD is an important technology that uses particles of light and the fundamental properties of quantum physics to deliver secret keys between parties. These keys can be used to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data and are safe from eavesdroppers or cyber-attacks by quantum computers.
CEO of HSBC Bank Plc and HSBC Europe, Colin Bell said, “Our customers, clients and employees expect us to have safe and secure operations and resilient cybersecurity, so we must stay ahead of the curve. That is why we are already preparing our global operations for a quantum future. Today’s milestone proves the importance of collaboration and demonstrates the significant innovation and progress that can be achieved when industry leaders join forces.”
HSBC’s quantum scientists, cyber-crime experts, and financial specialists will be better able to analyse the potential threat posed by powerful quantum computers and devise strategies to safeguard sensitive information.
HSBC’s quantum strategy includes trials of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC). The bank is also exploring applications in quantum computing across optimisation, simulation, and machine learning.
BT Chief Security and Networks Officer Howard Watson said, “As the UK’s leading network provider, it is critical we ensure our digital infrastructure remains secure against new quantum-based threats. Having launched the world’s first trial of a commercial quantum-secured metro network in partnership with Toshiba, we are delighted that HSBC has become the first bank to join.
Shunsuke Okada, Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, of Toshiba Corporation, said, “The commercial trial – which brings together Toshiba’s QKD technology, AWS’ edge compute services, and Toshiba and BT’s quantum secure metro network, will deliver secure and effective communications for HSBC. We look forward to working with HSBC to keep their customers’ data safe and continue applying quantum technologies to real-life use cases.”
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