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HSBC to Test Quantum-Secure Communication

Bank to connect two sites 38 miles apart with BT and Toshiba’s quantum-secured metro network

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

July 5, 2023

2 Min Read
HSBC's London-based global headquarters at Canary Wharf, London
HSBC plans to connect its global HQ in London to a data center in Berkshire, 38 miles away. HSBC

HSBC has become the first bank to join BT and Toshiba’s quantum-secured metro network.

The company plans to trial the quantum-secured transmission of test data over fiber-optic cables between two U.K. sites– its global HQ in Canary Wharf, London, and a data center in Berkshire, 38 miles away.

The bank aims to experiment with several scenarios, including financial transactions, secure video communications and one-time-pad encryption. It will incorporate Amazon Web Services (AWS) edge computing capabilities using an AWS Snowball Edge device. 

The trial will see data transmitted using quantum key distribution (QKD), which uses particles of light and the fundamental properties of quantum physics to deliver secret keys between parties. These keys can be used to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data and are proofed against even cyberattacks by future, sufficiently powerful, quantum computers. 

HSBC said its goal is to prepare its global operations against future cyber threats.

“Our customers, clients and employees expect us to have safe and secure operations and resilient cybersecurity, so we must stay ahead of the curve,” said HSBC CEO Colin Bell.

“That is why we are already preparing our global operations for a quantum future. We are spearheading industry-leading trials, recruiting highly trained experts, and investing in strong, strategic partnerships to explore how we could deploy these technologies as they develop.” 

Related:How HSBC, Quantinuum Tap Quantum for Banking’s Biggest Problems

HSBC researchers plan to use the insight generated from the trial as evidence of the advantages of quantum technology for banking and to drive the development of financial cybersecurity applications.  

“As the U.K.’s leading network provider, it’s critical we ensure our digital infrastructure remains secure against new quantum-based threats,” said BT chief security and networks officer Howard Watson.

“Having launched the world’s first trial of a commercial quantum-secured metro network in partnership with Toshiba, we are delighted that HSBC has become the first bank to join. This trial enables global industry partners to collaborate on the next era for network security.”

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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