Freight News, IT, Sea

Rotterdam and partners create ‘uncrackable’ internet connection

[ May 14, 2024   //   ]

A consortium consisting of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Q*Bird, Single Quantum, Cisco, Eurofiber, Portbase, Intermax and InnovationQuarter say they are the first in the world to build a scalable quantum internet connection, in Rotterdam harbour. A trial setup demonstrated that the use of quantum technology can prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information, which could improve the security of tens of thousands of vessels that visit the port every year.

During the trial, which started in late 2022, Q*Bird  installed a central hub in Eurofiber’s data centre which was connected to two endpoints at Portbase and Port of Rotterdam Authority. These exchanged data secured with quantum keys during the trial period.

Many new endpoints can be connected to the central hub, each of which can generate quantum keys, whereas other quantum key distribution systems rely on a less flexible peer-to-peer configuration, says the consortium. Q*Bird is the only party in the world to offer this scalable system. The system can also be used to secure other critical infrastructure networks in the Netherlands. In light of the success of this trial, new endpoints at Customs and a number of nautical service providers in the port will be connected to the central hub this year.

The system will allow multiple end-users to be provided with a secure, untappable connection in the future and its strength is the ease with which it can be expanded to many more users at relatively low cost.

If a hacker does try to steal encryption keys, users are notified as soon as the keys are compromised and another set of keys is then created.

The partners say that cybersecurity is currently ensured by data encryption based on calculations that today’s computers are barely able to solve. However, a powerful quantum computer can crack algorithms and expose sensitive data. Due to the unprecedented computing power of quantum computers, encrypted information can be rapidly decrypted which puts government and business information at risk.

Quantum technology has unprecedented potential for solving complex problems, but it also poses serious threats. For companies with critical infrastructure, such as the Port Authority, this could represent a serious threat of business disruption.