Secure satellite communication – Berlin team wins INNOspace Masters 2019/20

The winners of the INNOspace Masters competition, which is organized by the German Aero¬-space Center (DLR), have been announced: On 14 October, a Berlin-based team from Technische Universität, Humboldt-Universität and the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut won the DLR Challenge.

[Translate to English:] | Foto: FBH

This prize supports projects with up to 400,000 euros. Moreover, the winning project “QuMSeC” was chosen as overall winner of the INNOSpace Masters 2019/20.

The Berlin project was selected from 117 submitted ideas and deals with tap-proof quantum communication, which is supposed to work in the future even with untrusted satellites. The winning team includes Dr. Markus Krutzik, who heads the Joint Lab Integrated Quantum Sensors at Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH), which is jointly operated by FBH and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The idea for the award-winning project was developed together with Dr. Mustafa Gündogan from the Joint Lab and Prof. Janik Wolters from the work group Physical Foundations of IT Security at Technische Universität Berlin and Einstein Center Digital Future.

Secure Satellite Communications – QuMSeC

The joint project aims at using quantum memories to set new standards for secure quantum key distribution (QKD), also for untrusted satellites. Up to now, the necessary cyber security in QKD-based approaches has been based on complete control over development and manufacture as well as launch and operation of the satellites. In the future, customers and users should benefit from secure data communication via satellites even without having access to an own satellite infrastructure.

With a turnover of 156.3 billion US$ , satellite communication is a key player in the global digital economy with strategic importance for state and society. Internet, television, telephony and communication in aviation and shipping rely on highly secure satellite communication networks. However, the encryption methods used in data transmission today are vulnerable. This poses considerable security risks for critical infrastructures in the energy, telecommunications and transport sectors, for example. Tap-proof quantum communication should therefore provide a remedy.

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