Australian security trio aim for unbreakable encrypted data environment

Vault, QuintessenceLabs, and Ziroh Labs have joined forces to build a system for strong encryption of user data for government.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Australian cloud services provider Vault, alongside QuintessenceLabs (QLabs) and Ziroh Labs, has announced a secure enterprise file synchronisation and sharing (EFSS) proof of concept aimed at protecting data.

The Canberra-based companies will bring together QuintessenceLabs' quantum key generation and key management with Vault's protected cloud and Ziroh Labs' homomorphic encryption technology, calling the end result "full entropy as a service".

Vault and Quintessence Labs recently received funding from AustCyber -- the Cyber Security Growth Network -- which handed out AU$3 million under the 2017-18 Project Fund aimed at advancing Australia's position in innovation and cybersecurity.

"It's critical that we continue to research new ways in which we can protect and secure Australians' personal data," Vault general manager Tony Marceddo said. "By combining Ziroh's homomorphic encryption, QuintessenceLabs' quantum key generation, and Vault's protected cloud, we plan to create a unique solution for the global security landscape."

The companies explained that Ziroh's homomorphic encryption secures files while they are at rest, ensuring they are encrypted at all times, while QLabs uses quantum key generation to create keys that will secure the homomorphic encrypted files.

"Quantum key generation addresses traditional computers' lack of ability to randomise passwords and keys," they said.

To add another layer of security, the file is then stored on Vault's protected cloud.

Vault was one of the first companies to meet the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) requirements for protected-level ASD Certification, alongside fellow Australian cloud provider Sliced Tech.

The honour, since extended to Macquarie Government, Dimension Data, and most recently Microsoft, allows Vault to store highly classified government information in its cloud.

Meanwhile, QLabs picked up AU$3.26 million in funding from the Australian Department of Defence in July last year to continue the expansion of its quantum key distribution capabilities and develop an Australia-specific solution. This was followed in January by an additional AU$528,000 to progress encryption work for the department.

Australian banking heavyweight Westpac has also funded QLabs' work, boasting a 16 percent stake in the company as a result.

QLabs was formed in 2008 as a spin-off out of the physics department at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, although QLabs' product suite was developed independent of ANU.

At the time, the company was looking at commercialising some technology, research, and experimental work that came out of the physics department in the field of quantum cryptography or quantum key distribution.

In addition to its ties with ANU, QLabs has a linkage grant with the University of Newcastle and a partnership with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and its Centre for Quantum Computation and Communications Technology (CQC2T).

The CQC2T currently houses a team of university researchers that is racing to build the world's first quantum computer in silicon.


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