Published on: October 26, 2021
Safety Detectives: Please share your company background, how you got started, and your mission.
PQShield: PQShield is a cybersecurity startup that specializes in post-quantum cryptography. It was founded by Dr. Ali El Kaafarani, cryptographer and research fellow at the Oxford University Mathematical Institute. We are a global leader in the race to develop encryption algorithms that can withstand attacks from quantum computers and are pioneering the commercial roll-out of quantum-ready cryptographic solutions to help organizations prepare for the threat landscape of tomorrow.
SD: What is the main service your company offers?
PQShield: It is predicted that a quantum computer capable of breaking current encryption standards will be available by the end of this decade. At that point, all existing encryption will cease to be secure. We are the only cybersecurity company that can demonstrate quantum-safe cryptography on chips, in applications, and in the cloud, by providing ready-made and tailored IP for secure elements, IoT firmware, PKI and server technologies, and end-user applications. We are leading contributors to the NIST post-quantum cryptography standardization project, having developed two of the seven finalist algorithms, and to the RISC-V Cryptography Extensions.
Along with its quantum-safe cryptography products, we advise companies on the transition to a quantum-safe future through business best practices and preparing for regulatory compliance in finance and government sectors, to ensure sensitive data is kept secure from the most advanced threats, today and tomorrow.
SD: What is something unique that helps you stay ahead of your competition?
PQShield: We are the only cybersecurity company that can already demonstrate its quantum-safe cryptography solutions on hardware, software, and apps.
As well as a world-class team of cryptographers and mathematicians, we also have some of the industry’s most advanced engineering expertise. This combination of technical expertise with practical engineering experience enables us to help companies protect information from today’s attacks while preparing organisations for the threat landscape of the future.
SD: What do you think are the worst cyberthreats today?
PQShield: The threat posed by quantum computers fundamentally undermines the encryption algorithms used by businesses today. Unlike phishing, malware, or other current attacks, the quantum threat will simply smash throughout current protections leaving any currently secured data vulnerable. Therefore, any organization that wants to secure its data over the long term must take steps to counter the quantum threat.
Complicating this threat is a harvest now, decrypt later attack. Bad actors could steal encrypted data from a business or organization through a more conventional attack, and then store this information for when a quantum computer capable of breaking the encryption is built. This threat means that any organization that wants to secure its data over a longer lifespan, must take steps to adopt quantum-safe encryption as soon as possible or risk exposing any data to a quantum attack. They must also be aware that any attack in which encrypted data is harvested, could present further reputational and regulatory issues in a decades time.