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QUARTZ (2017 – ongoing) – an ESA project: as part of a consortium led by SES, itrust participates as one of the many project partners in the Quantum Cryptography Telecommunication System (QUARTZ) consortium, primarily funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) via its ARTES/ScyLight programme. QUARTZ aims to develop an innovative, commercially viable Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system to distribute cryptographic keys to end-users via satellite optical links.

Cryptographic keys are the fundamental secrets used by mathematical algorithms to secure digital communications, bringing to life modern applications where security is paramount. Common examples of these are e-commerce and online banking. QKD, unlike the traditional cryptographic key distribution schemes in use today, leverages principles of quantum mechanics to provide keys that remain secure even in the face of growing threats to the current cryptographic ecosystem, such as quantum computing.

itrust consulting has a major role in the secure design of the ground station system components that manage the concrete distribution and lifecycle of the QKD keys for its end-users on site so that they may seamlessly be integrated into applications. This prolongs itrust consulting’s tradition of participating in cutting-edge research projects – such as bIoTope on the Internet of Things, ATENA on cybersecurity for critical infrastructures, and TREsPASS on socio-technical aspects of security – for the benefit of its current and future customers in cybersecurity, and to develop its own tool, TRICK Service, for risk management.

In the framework of this project, itrust has been developing methodologies, dedicated frameworks and tools aimed at software requirements management, software validation and verification specification. Moreover, itrust has been incorporating learned lessons and know-how acquired from such projects into the design and development of its own cryptographic software and tools.