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What is post-quantum cryptography? This startup raised $37M to drive its adoption

Image credit: PQShield

PQShield, a cybersecurity firm specialising in post-quantum cryptography (PQC), has secured $37 million in Series B funding. This investment round, led by Addition with participation from new and existing investors, aims to accelerate the commercial adoption of PQShield’s quantum-resistant cryptography solutions.

The funding comes at a critical juncture. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is on the verge of releasing its official standards for PQC, marking a significant milestone in the global transition to quantum-resistant cryptography.

Not too long ago, we also reported about UK’s cybersecurity provider OnSecurity which raised £5.5M to scale penetration testing platform. It’s a good read too.

What is Post Quantum Cryptography

Post-quantum cryptography (PQC) or quantum-resistant cryptography refers to cryptographic systems designed to be secure against attacks from quantum computers. Traditional encryption methods rely on mathematical problems that are difficult for classical computers to solve. However, quantum computers leverage the principles of quantum mechanics to perform calculations that are infeasible for classical computers, potentially breaking these traditional encryption methods.

PQC offers a solution by utilising different mathematical problems that are believed to be resistant to even the most powerful quantum computers. This ensures the confidentiality of sensitive data even in the future era of quantum computing. While large-scale quantum computers are still under development, the threat they pose to current encryption standards necessitates a proactive approach.

The impending NIST standards, along with directives from governments like the US National Security Agency (NSA) mandating the migration to PQC by 2025, emphasise the urgency for organisations to adopt quantum-resistant encryption solutions. This is especially true for entities safeguarding critical data that requires long-term security.

PQShield’s solutions and expertise

Founded in 2018, PQShield has established itself as a leader in the PQC space. The company boasts an industry-renowned team of cryptography and engineering experts who have developed a comprehensive suite of secure products compatible with hardware, software, and cloud environments.

PQShield’s solutions are already facilitating the transition to quantum security across various sectors within the technology supply chain. These applications include: secure boot and update of devices, hardware security modules (HSMs) used to secure financial transactions, advanced encryption for connected vehicles and military-grade communication systems

The company’s client base includes prominent names like AMD, Microchip Technologies, Collins Aerospace, and NTT Data.

Beyond providing commercial solutions, PQShield actively collaborates with governments, industry bodies, and cybersecurity agencies. They offer guidance on the migration to PQC by contributing to standardisation projects like the NIST PQC program and advising entities like the White House and the World Economic Forum.

Todd Arfman, a representative from lead investor Addition, commented on the potential of PQShield’s technology and said, “With the NIST standards nearing completion, we anticipate rapid adoption of PQC across the technology supply chain. PQShield, led by a team with extensive experience, has established itself as a frontrunner in post-quantum cryptography for hardware and software. We are excited to see the company build on its success and further enhance its efforts in safeguarding our digital future.”

PQShield CEO Ali El Kaafarani emphasised the importance of proactive adoption of quantum-resistant solutions as well. He stated, “The need for quantum-resistant encryption is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ We are already integrating our technology across the supply chain, and this funding will empower us to provide real-world PQC hardware and software upgrades to even more organisations as they comply with new global standards.”

What we think about the startup

PQShield’s commitment extends beyond commercial success. The company prioritises security and privacy in the digital age, focusing on staying ahead of potential threats through ongoing research and development.

The growing adoption of PQC solutions is crucial for safeguarding sensitive data in the face of evolving threats. PQShield’s recent funding and industry recognition position them as a key player in this critical transition. However, the competitive landscape for cybersecurity solutions is dynamic. PQShield’s continued success will depend on its ability to maintain its technological edge and deliver innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of the market.

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