SK Telecom is adding a new level of security to the Internet of Things (IoT) by embedding a small quantum random number generator (QRNG) chip into its IoT devices. QRNG chips generates random numbers without any pattern, which is intended to increase the level of security.
The South Korean operator also said that its QRNG chip will be just 5 millimeters (mm) by 5 mm in size, making it small enough to embed in a variety of devices.
According to Sam Hale, analyst with MachNation, hardware-based random number generation, like the QRNG chip, has existed for some time and is already largely deployed in some business sectors. In fact, Hale said that random number generators (of which QRNG is a subset), have existed in various formats for decades and Intel currently uses this type of technology for its Intel Secure Key brand.
The benefit to IoT is that QRNG ensures common encryption methods cannot be broken due to weaknesses within their random number generators. The QRNG technology magnifies very small scale quantum uncertainties to a much larger scale.
SK Telecom has not yet determined the price of its QRNG chips, but said that it will work with partners to accelerate the popularity of QRNG and increase its presence in the market.
However, Hale said that SK may have some difficulty getting traction for its QRNG chip as both Intel and ARM, which currently produce the majority of IoT processors, already use competing technologies or have QRNG technology already embedded in them.
SK Telecom has been investing heavily in IoT. The company said earlier this year that it would invest $9 billion over the next three years in artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, autonomous vehicles, and 5G.