QuintessenceLabs is working with NASA's Ames research facility in California, where it is involved in research to use quantum mechanics to secure classified communications to NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs.
QuintessenceLabs Founder Vikram Sharma says NASA was drawn to his Australian cryptographic start-up firm because its quantum key distribution technology meets the U.S. space agency's goal of unconditionally secure information exchange.
QuintessenceLabs' second-generation technology relies on the idea of virtual entanglement, a property that manifests at the quantum level of nature," Western Australia news agency reported.
Australian cybersecurity expert Stephen Wilson said he wondered however whether quantum key distribution solves any real problem that industry and government faces not met by traditional public key encryption, such as that provided by RSA.
I don't know of any application where public key cryptography is so inadequate that you would need to go quantum, so I don't know what the market is," he said. "You would find the defense department would invest strategically in long-term technologies and see how it pans out."