Interview with Jon Maliepaard - CEO of Crypta Labs

Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks

SafetyDetectives recently had the opportunity to interview Jon Maliepaard, the CEO of Crypta Labs, a deep-tech startup specializing in quantum security. Jon shared his entrepreneurial journey and discussed his transition to leading Crypta Labs in 2021. Crypta Labs focuses on building the next generation of random number generators, known as quantum random number generators (QRNGs). These devices utilize the quantum properties of light to generate assured entropy, crucial for encryption technologies. Among other topics, Jon explained the importance of QRNGs in ensuring the security of encryption, especially in the face of evolving cybersecurity threats.

Can you share your journey and what led you to join Crypta Labs as CEO?

I’m an entrepreneur at heart and have started and sold a few of my own tech companies over the years. I was initially interested in what Crypta Labs were doing in 2018 when I invested and followed on in the second round. I was offered the opportunity to take over the running of the company in November 2021. It was an amazing opportunity to lead a deep-tech startup in the quantum security space and so I agreed. It has been an incredible journey and a very steep learning curve for me. Luckily I studied Electrical Engineering so I had an understanding of the basic principles required to embark in hardware design and manufacturing.

Could you give an overview of what Crypta Labs does and its mission in the security space?

Crypta Labs is building the next generation of random number generators. Devices that use the quantum properties of light to generate randomness. Random numbers are the key to all encryption. The more random a seed is, the more difficult it is to crack something that is encrypted. Even the new generations of Post Quantum algorithms require the security of a random number seed. These devices are called quantum random number generators or QRNG for short. We generate assured entropy and do a number of heath checks using predictability algorithms to prove randomness.

How do QRNGs work and why are they important for encryption technologies?

There are a few techniques for generating quantum entropy (randomness), we have chosen to use quantum photonics. This refers to the unpredictable nature of photon generation. In simple terms, we shoot a beam of light at a sensor and we monitor the signals when the photon’s hit the sensor. We have a very high sampling rate and this allows us to get a different result with every sample and this way we are able to generate random numbers. It doesn’t stop there, we do real constant health checks and make sure every number is random before passing it on to the operating system.

Since the 60’s the world has relied on TRNG’s which have worked well, but they have two major shortfalls. They can only produce a limited amount of entropy and they do not validate the entropy they produce. With demands for encryption at all time highs, the TRNG devices are simply not coping.

Anything that gets encrypted from a connection to a website, to a WhatsApp message requires a random number or seed. So we are producing the highest quality assured random numbers possible. We believe that cyber resilience starts with verified entropy.

What role do you see quantum technologies playing in the future of cybersecurity?

If we are going to create true quantum resistant encryption the only way we can achieve this is by using quantum technologies. QRNG seeded Quantum key distribution (QKD) is the gold standard tech that we have today that can achieve this. So called Post quantum algorithms (PQ) which the world is rushing towards adopting still feel like an interim measure.

What are the current major challenges you see in the field of cybersecurity?

I think that the sudden availability of AI and LLM technologies has created a number of unexpected security concerns. The sheer power of GPU clusters has shifted Moore’s Law so dramatically, it is tough to say what will unfold in the next two years. People were comfortable that at our current rate of development that we were at least 10 years away from building a sufficiently powerful quantum computer capable of breaking today’s encryption technologies. But who knows what AI will come up with. Now the concerns are related to how we can get as secure as possible with the technologies we have today. And this is where a QRNG comes into play. Scalable assured entropy.

What trends do you see shaping the future of digital security?

I think the focus has been on quantum computers as the threat to encryption, but AI has brought many more concerns to the fore. Hardware manufacturers, specifically routers and firewalls need to look to upgrade their sources of entropy as a matter of urgency. This improved entropy needs to be transparent to end users, it just needs to get integrated at the hardware level. I also foresee companies looking at their current encryption methods and hardening them. Many archived documents have been encrypted with old breakable technologies. There will probably be a trend towards re-encryption of existing data to prove its secure lifetime.

About the Author

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.

Leave a Comment