South Korea embraces quantum cryptographic devices in public sector

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Mar. 27, 2023 7:48PM GMT+9

The South Korean intelligence agency announced on Monday that they will start security testing on quantum cryptographic devices next week. This means that public institutions in South Korea will be able to adopt devices which are made with quantum cryptography communication technology and qualified through official security testing.

Most of all, it will be the first case in the world for a government agency to establish security requirements for quantum cryptographic devices and put them through security testing, the National Intelligence Service told The Readable.

According to the NIS, the security testing includes national security requirements and security compatibility procedures regarding the development and verification of quantum cryptographic devices. The national security requirements divide quantum cryptographic devices into three categories: quantum key distribution (QKD), quantum key management system (QKMS), and quantum encryption (QENC). The test lists 152 security standards in total.

The agency’s announcement came out as part of the national effort to advance quantum cryptographic technologies in response to the quantum computing era. In South Korea, three major telecommunications companies, SKT, KT, and LG Uplus, have been leading the quantum cryptographic market while their development has not been accepted in the public sector due to the absence of security requirements so far.

The NIS has discussed security requirements for quantum cryptographic devices through a public-private partnership which was formed in 2020. Application for security testing on quantum cryptographic devices will be open to submission from April 3, after the agency holds a briefing session for security vendors on March 29.

As for testing institutes, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA), and the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) are designated.

“We expect the security testing on quantum cryptographic devices to activate the related market and fortify national security,” said the NIS in its statement.

According to the Quantum Information Technology White Paper published by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the global market for quantum cryptographic communication was around $12 billion as of last year and is expected to record annual average growth of 32.6% by 2030.

The cover image of this article was designed by Sangseon Kim.

Dain Oh is a distinguished journalist based in South Korea, recognized for her exceptional contributions to the field. As the founder and editor-in-chief of The Readable, she has demonstrated her expertise in leading media outlets to success. Prior to establishing The Readable, Dain was a journalist for The Electronic Times, a prestigious IT newspaper in Korea. During her tenure, she extensively covered the cybersecurity industry, delivering groundbreaking reports. Her work included exclusive stories, such as the revelation of incident response information sharing by the National Intelligence Service. These accomplishments led to her receiving the Journalist of the Year Award in 2021 by the Korea Institute of Information Security and Cryptology, a well-deserved accolade bestowed upon her through a unanimous decision. Dain has been invited to speak at several global conferences, including the APEC Women in STEM Principles and Actions, which was funded by the U.S. State Department. Additionally, she is an active member of the Asian American Journalists Association, further exhibiting her commitment to journalism.