Qubitekk to receive federal funding to help protect nation’s power grid from cyber attack

Duncan Earl
Duncan Earl

San Diego startup Qubitekk will benefit from a $3 million Department of Energy grant to speed the development of unhackable quantum encryption technology that will protect the country’s power grid from a cyber attack.

Under the DOE’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program, the nation’s premier program for grid security, Qubitekk will be working in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Texas at Austin, Sandia National Laboratory and Pacific Gas & Electric to prepare for threats to critical infrastructure in the 21st Century and beyond.

With cyber attacks on the rise and growing more sophisticated by the day, few dispute the need to defend the U.S. power grid, says a company news release. Leading government, industry and cyber experts agree that a successful breach, especially with recent advances related to code-breaking quantum computers, is only a matter of time.

Because quantum computers promise to be thousands of times faster than even the most powerful supercomputers they can quickly crack the toughest encryption without warning. In the wrong hands, they could be considered weapons. At least 11 nations, including China and Russia, are known to be developing such technology. Tamper-proof quantum encryption is the only long-term defense.

“This Department of Energy funding is another indicator that quantum information technology is moving quickly into critical near-term applications,” said Dr. Duncan Earl, founder and CTO of Qubitekk. “We will soon see the emergence of a tremendous new market related to quantum-enhanced products. The possibilities for major breakthroughs across multiple disciplines are truly endless.”

Qubitekk recently announced the availability of the world’s first plug-and-play entangled photon generator, the QES1. Like the transistors at the hearts of classical computers, the QES1 enables the flow of information through quantum computers and quantum encryption products – both of which the company is currently developing.