Samsung and Korean mobile operator SK Telecom have launched the world’s first-ever smartphone capable of enables quantum cryptography. The Samsung Galaxy Quantum A Quantum (based on the Galaxy A71 5G) uses ID Quantique’s IDQ250C2 Quantum Random Number Generator, which is the first quantum cryptography chip designed for mobile handsets, IoT, and other portable devices.
The chip increases security by using quantum noise to generate random numbers, which are required to generate cryptographic keys used to secure data exchange between devices. According to SK Telecom, the use of a quantum random number generator will allow apps to generate ‘true’ quantum numbers, (most commonly used methods turn out what are commonly referred to as pseudo-random numbers), that ‘cannot be hacked’.
True random versus pseudo-random numbers
Just how are ID Quantique’s chips able to generate true random numbers? That’s all thanks to the use of an LED that generates a random number of photons due to quantum noise. These are detected by an image sensor, which can then turn these into ‘true’ random numbers that cannot be guessed. Pseudo-random number generators, on the other hand use a ‘seed’ value and a set of algorithms to come up with results that may appear random, but are not in the truest sense of the word. Using quantum noise is one way of building a true random number generator – other concepts rely on other ‘noisy’ phenomena, such as radioactive decay, atmospheric noise, or even the way you move a mouse around on your laptop.
How will SK Telecom use this quantum cryptography chip?
According to SK Telecom, they will be adding a quantum one-time password to safeguard login to their online accounts, and to secure the SK Pay mobile payments app. SK Telecom will also offer a secure wallet app designed to store personal data, including IDs and certificates, and there are plans to open up access to third-party developers who can then use this to offer more secure apps and services.