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A national first for Malta was achieved when the first link of the PRISM quantum communication network was switched on, operating in front of a public audience for the first time. Merqury Cybersecurity Limited, which is the technical lead for the PRISM project, held the demonstration at the University of Malta, with support from the project’s six other consortium members spanning both the public and private sectors.

The demonstration, which was open to the public, took place at the University of Malta’s Faculty of ICT, and showcased a link to the University’s Department of Physics.

It publicly showcased pioneering quantum encryption technology in Malta for the first time, marking a significant milestone in the development of a robust nationwide quantum communication network, which promises to provide an unprecedented level of cybersecurity in the years to come.

Professor André Xuereb, Founder and CEO of Merqury Cybersecurity Limited, said: “What we demonstrated today is a groundbreaking technology which any entity can use to easily embrace next-generation cybersecurity. With this technology, anyone can incorporate quantum-secured communication into their network without having to overhaul their entire IT infrastructure.”

The quantum leap forward taken today is a core component of the groundbreaking PRISM (Physical Security for Public Infrastructure in Malta) project. Co-funded by the EU, PRISM aims to deploy quantum-secured communication links over standard telecommunications networks across the entire country, a pioneering initiative in the EU, to bolster data security against both current and future cyber threats.

Merqury Cybersecurity Limited, a leader in the field, has been instrumental in the development and application of quantum technologies for secure cryptography and key distribution. These innovations range from quantum key distribution, a secure method for key exchange, to quantum-safe cryptography that safeguards against hacking and eavesdropping.

Dr Noel Farrugia, CTO of Merqury Cybersecurity Limited, said: “With this public demonstration, we aimed to reach three goals. First, to showcase to the attendees what an actual quantum key distribution device looks like, and the physical requirements for such devices to work. Second, is the ease by which our software stack allows anyone to encrypt traffic with QKD-generated keys. Finally, we are continuing our efforts in raising awareness about what the quantum threat means, and what tools, techniques are available (QKD is one of many) to overcome such a threat.”

The demonstration showcased the initial part of a much bigger network that will be deployed across the Maltese islands over the coming months.

PRISM aligns with the European Commission’s extensive efforts to develop a Europe-wide Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI). As Malta’s designated project within this initiative, PRISM will spearhead the development of a quantum-secure network across the Maltese islands and its connection to the wider European network.

Further information about this demonstration is available in the following YouTube video.

PRISM (Physical Security for Public Infrastructure in Malta) is co-funded by the European Union under the Digital Europe Programme grant agreement number 101111875. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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