PRISMS - Protocol, Randomness & Information Security Measures for Space

Lead Participant: CRAFT PROSPECT LTD


Quantum technologies provide both a threat to, and a solution for, ensuring security in the the communication systems which underpin our daily lives. As quantum computing increases in capability, existing methods for securing data will become obsolete. In parallel new quantum cryptographic methods are being developed which will help to mitigate this threat (for example, Quantum Key Distribution). This will ensure that our most sensitive data can be protected from external agents, be they state actors or sophisticated hacker groups, both now and in the future. A proposed method to deliver a quantum key service is through satellite assets, however for adoption, the security of these assets must be assured.

This project aims to assess particular vulnerabilities of very small satellites (nanosatellites) to backdoor attacks on quantum payloads through the satellite platform. Nanosatellites are increasingly used in commercial services due to their low cost, and as such can be used to fulfil niches roles within a wider capability (e.g. can be produced quickly and cheaply to smooth spikes in demand). The approach to be developed is to ensure that quantum components can be segmented from the rest of the platform, ensuring even if the platform is breached, secure quantum information cannot be accessed. Monitoring of the quantum technologies within the space environment will be required to ensure that their proporties are uncompromised. This will have the added benefit of allowing quantum subsystems to be hosted as a secondary payload on larger satellites.

Bringing together extensive experience in the space, security and quantum domains, this project will assess the potential attack vectors and provide a bench top demonstration of a fully tested system which is aligned to relevant standards. The quantum elements of the programme will be the implementation of a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) and quantum protocol processing algorithms on representative space hardware. Test points will then be defined for threat analysis and penetration testing. This will serve to increase trust levels in these platforms to facilitate the delivery of quantum cryptography, and other secure quantum services, from space-based assets.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

CRAFT PROSPECT LTD £246,526 £ 172,568


UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW £54,229 £ 54,229
DOTQUANTUM LTD £40,975 £ 28,682


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