Silicon Valley startup SandboxAQ hired to beef up US military cyber security

OAKLAND, California June 27 (Reuters) – Artificial intelligence and quantum computing startup SandboxAQ on Tuesday said it has won a U.S. government contract for military cyber security in a deal that includes Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Deloitte & Touche (DLTE.UL) as subcontractors.

The contract is with the Defense Information Systems Agency which provides global communications infrastructure for the Department of Defense, the Silicon Valley firm said.

SandboxAQ, which spun off from Alphabet (GOOGL.O) last year, offers software that can scan systems and identify and replace encryption algorithms that can be broken with current technology and techniques or will likely be broken in the near term, SandboxAQ CEO Jack Hidary told Reuters.

Researchers expect quantum computers to eventually be able to break today’s encryption algorithms, and new cryptography techniques designed to withstand quantum computers have been introduced to prevent hackers from gathering encrypted data to decrypt in the future.

“It’s a great milestone for our company,” Hidary said. “We needed additional complementary skill sets in our consortium. We turned to Deloitte and Microsoft as our subcontractors.”

Microsoft is able to provide the infrastructure platform needed for deploying software to large organizations such as the Department of Defense and Deloitte has in-person services that can implement changes.

Hidary declined to disclose how much the contract is worth.

Earlier this year, SandboxAQ won a contract with the U.S. Air Force to research quantum navigation technology which could serve as an alternative to the Global Positioning System (GPS), which can be jammed.

Quantum navigation uses sensors based on quantum physics to monitor slight local changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, making navigation systems much more precise, Hidary said.

Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Jane Lee

Thomson Reuters

Reports on global trends in computing from covering semiconductors and tools to manufacture them to quantum computing. Has 27 years of experience reporting from South Korea, China, and the U.S. and previously worked at the Asian Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Reuters TV. In her free time, she studies math and physics with the goal of grasping quantum physics.

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