According to a press release released by Blue Bear on Thursday (21st October), the unmanned systems experts have entered into an agreement with quantum encryption company Arqit Ltd in a bid to improve security for the next generation of defence systems.
The intention of the partnership is to allow the two companies to test the implementation of Arqit’s quantum encryption product, QuantumCloud™, on Blue Bear’s unmanned systems on land, sea, and in the air. The unmanned and autonomous systems in question are already deployed with Blue Bears existing defence customers, but are not currently operating with their maximum possible security.
Crucially, Arqit’s unparalleled cyber security will ensure Blue Bear can continue to provide its systems to clients across a range of industries, but specifically in the defence sector, with absolute certainty that these systems are not at risk of a cyber attack. Given the number of ransomware attacks and other large-scale hacks that have occurred in the last 12 months, this is an incredibly sensible decision for an organisation for whom a cyber attack could be absolutely devastating.
Who Is Blue Bear?
In its own words, Blue Bear (Blue Bear Systems Research Limited) is “the leading supplier of innovative research and product-based solutions in the field of unmanned systems, mission systems, avionics, sensor payloads and data exploitation”. All this is to say that the company designs and develops unmanned systems such as drones and full-scale unmanned aircraft, land vehicles, and boats.
Well-versed in the industry, Blue Bear has been working on unmanned systems for over 18 years. The organisation works with both military and civil clients, but has a particularly big impact on the military industry across the globe. Notable projects include the possible introduction of pilotless planes as passenger aircraft, a successful long-range UAV flight controlled purely via 5G and, most recently, the successful testing of drone swarms together with the RAF.
The company’s CEO, Dr. Yoge Patel, has also won several accolades for her work, including the Asian Women Of Achievement (Entrepreneur) Award, the Chief Scientific Advisor’s Award, the IET Innovation Award, a nomination for the Women In Defence UK Innovation Award and inclusion on the Top 100 Asian Stars in Tech list for two years running.
Who Is Arqit?
Arqit Limited is a global leader in quantum encryption technology. The organisation’s flagship product, QuantumCloud™, utilizes Arqit’s transformational quantum encryption technology to secure any networked device. This means that any data sent to or from the device is completely protected against any form of cyber attack, even the kind of next-level cyber attack that could be made possible by quantum computers in the near future.
QuantumCloud™ is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that works by enabling devices to download a pretty small application. This application then creates symmetric encryption keys (a very popular type of key used to keep data safe whilst in transmission) at the endpoints of a transmission – i.e. just as it leaves the original device and just as it reaches the recipient device. The product is super easy to deploy as it requires no infrastructure to work and is operated entirely from the cloud.
Arqit prides itself on a product that is completely bulletproof and designed to help organisations to prepare for the impending threat quantum computers will place upon our privacy and security. Find out more about this threat, and why it is so important to prepare for it, here.
What Does This Mean For National And International Defence?
That is an easy one. This partnership is quite literally a game-changer for defence in the UK, US, and beyond. If this test run is successful, this is the kind of combination I can see being implemented across all defence vehicles worldwide in the near future.
Imagine for a moment that the US military, UK military, or any other defence organization, is flying a group of drones high over enemy territory to collect information. The drones are accompanied by other vehicles on land, sea, and air that are used to collect and deliver messages from allies and may be equipped with weapons.
Now imagine that the enemy was able to work its way into the control centre for these vehicles, decrypt the information being carried, and even gain control of the vehicles themselves. The competitive advantage provided would be devastating.
Put simply, cyber security has never been more important.