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Security

British security startup bets on tackling 'post quantum Armageddon'

“We’re unique because up to 12 months ago people were laughing at us,” says Andersen Cheng, CEO of Post-Quantum a British cyber security firm over the phone. “People are no longer laughing.” They no longer think all this is science fiction, because quantum computing is coming. “We are the only company focusing on post quantum security.”

Last Thursday Post-Quantum announced that it had raised £8M [$10.3M based on current exchange rate] in series A funding. This investment came from VMS Investment Group and AM Partners and adds to the £800,000 [$103,000] of existing seed funding.

Post-Quantum is focused on securing vulnerabilities in the fabric of the internet exposed by higher performance computing. “The whole internet is based on RSA and although there are algorithms out there to crack it the computer power is not there yet,” explains Cheng. This will change when quantum computers arrive.

Dave Gee provided an overview of this situation at the end of last year in a piece in CSO.com Australia entitled: “Quantum computing threatens to crack internet security”. While Google also announced in a blog post last week that it is experimenting with future proofing Chrome in a bid to beat quantum computers.

Launched in 2009 Post-Quantum began “as a hobby” and has resulted in seven years of R&D. Operating for most of this time as a three-man-band, the head count reached 12 a month ago, and should hit 30 by the end of the year. “We’re a commercial venture but this is beyond money,” says Cheng who hopes to leave a security legacy.

Vulnerabilities exposed by the arrival of quantum computing could be particularly pertinent in the banking world where – along with government – the company predominantly pitches its business. The banking world is split, says Cheng, some are waiting till something happens others are beginning to look to protect what they already have.

“Banks used to compete,” he adds “but in cybersecurity the more they collaborate the less risk they face.”

Cheng believes cyber problems have gotten worse the Ed Snowden revelations. “He accelerated our Armageddon” he explains by exposing core weaknesses. “You think it is bad news now – we haven’t seen 50% of it yet.”

Beside its fundamental niche in post quantum security, the company has also created a suite a connected products that are ready for today’s challenges. It offers a modular approach to security, says Cheng. “These [individual products] are most powerful when they come together,” he adds.

The current suite includes biometric authentication, Quorum-based consensus approval, secure communications and Post-quantum secure encryption along with a multi-faceted approach to blockchain security.

“Everyone is talking about blockchain but it is nothing more than an audit trail,” he says. We offer hidden middleware that helps secure everything from the initial data to the sign-in.

“Our dream is to be Microsoft Office for security,” concludes Cheng. This would be a suite of connected products – like Excel, Word and PowerPoint – which make up all the building blocks to secure the post quantum world.

 

 

 

 

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