Korea Times

SKT develops ‘non-hackable’ security chip

But the chi[ has yet to be commercialised due to its size and price

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 5:45pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 5:47pm

By Lee Min-hyung

SK Telecom has developed the world’s smallest “non-hackable” security chip that can be widely used for emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, drones and the internet of things (IoT), the company said Sunday.

The quantum random number generator measures 5mm x 5mm.

The nation’s largest mobile carrier says the chip can create pattern-less numbers in real time, bringing current security systems to another level.

The move is in line with the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, when billions of devices are expected be interconnected via the internet and big data.

But the development of security systems has so far failed to keep up with those burgeoning tech areas.

For this reason, calls have grown in recent years for a more secure encryption system, because possible hackings could cause major problems in the data-driven era.

For example, such IoT devices as industrial drones have to report their own telecom certification numbers to base stations, during which process the numbers are encrypted.

But the existing pattern-based encryption systems are vulnerable to hacking threats, which could pose an even more serious threat to such devices as autonomous vehicles, according to SK Telecom.

The random number generator is not the first of its kind, and the solution has been used for security sensitive areas, including military bases.

Despite the secure encryption, it has yet to be commercialised due to its size and price, the company said. Most existing quantum number generators are bigger than a credit card, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

SK Telecom says its chip has overcome such weaknesses of its counterparts on the market. The company has yet to decide the price, but says the chip will cost under US$10.

The company is working with a group of security solutions providers here and abroad to expand its sales channels overseas.

The outlook for the quantum telecommunication market is rosy, with its value expected to exceed 26.9 trillion won in 2025, according to U.S.-based industry tracker Market Research Media.

“SK Telecom has focused on developing source technologies for the quantum encryption industry, as the data-led era comes near with the rise of such technologies,” said Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and the head of the firm’s network technology R&D center.

“We are going to expand our partnerships with small- and medium-sized enterprises in the security industry, and tighten our footing on the global market.”

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