Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. said Monday that it will launch services involving the use of quantum cryptography, which is theoretically unbreakable, to corporate clients both at home and abroad by fiscal 2025.
Last month, Toshiba, which is aiming to secure the largest share of the global quantum encryption market, started a test of the services in the United States with Verizon Communications Inc. and in the United Kingdom with BT Group PLC. In addition, Toshiba is in talks with Singaporean and South Korean telecommunications firms about cooperating on the services.
In the ongoing test with the U.S. and British telecommunications giants, cipher keys needed for the quantum encryption of vast amounts of data and for decrypting them are transmitted through fiber-optic lines operated by Verizon and BT Group, and mock unauthorized access is also being carried out.
Toshiba will examine the results of the test with Verizon and BT Group as it accelerates efforts to launch the information security services using quantum cryptography. It plans to establish a plant for related equipment in Cambridge, central England, by the end of this year.
Conventional cryptography is highly likely to face the risk of being cracked when quantum computers, which far outperform supercomputers, are put into practical use, possibly in the 2030s.
Toshiba has won a test project for the introduction of quantum cryptography worth some ¥4.3 billion from Japan's communications ministry, and will initiate it in April 2021. The company also aims to offer the quantum cryptography-based services to government bodies, such as the Defense Ministry and the National Police Agency.
Toshiba hopes to help strengthen dramatically Japan's information protection capability in the national security and other areas, trying to catch up with U.S. and Chinese companies that are ahead of rivals from other countries in the field.
The company is also keen to partner with domestic telecommunications giants in anticipation of a rise in demand for the planned new services from private-sector entities that handle highly confidential information, such as financial companies and medical institutions.
Toshiba forecasts the global market for quantum encryption services will shoot up tenfold to some ¥2 trillion in fiscal 2035 from the current level, and it hopes to acquire a 25% share of the market.
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