In a bid to combat any adversary intrusion into its power infrastructure, a so-called Satellite Quantum System has been developed by China which the nation boasts as the world’s largest national power grid, according to official reports.
An enhanced risk of these systems remains of them being compromised in the case of a confrontation even though critical infrastructure gets increasingly integrated with data and network systems.
Being a power-dependent developing economy, China seems to have gauged the threat and has now devised a network against it. Integrating its ground-based critical infrastructure with space-based quantum technology, It has reportedly developed the world’s first quantum satellite.
As reported by SCMP, in order to secure its electric power grid from cyber-attacks, a quantum communication network in space has been built by China, said by the scientists involved in the project.
Fujian’s electricity system stays connected to a national emergency command centre in the Chinese capital, Beijing by a portion of the network while better to mention that along with being in close proximity with Taiwan, Fujian is a southeastern province and is separated from Beijing by about 2,000 km.
Keeping the above distance in view, building an optical cable of that length for quantum communication would have been very costly, as said by the researchers with the State Grid Information and Communication Branch who are responsible for creating the national power grid’s information infrastructure.
Knitting a cobweb
The Chinese have turned to the world’s first quantum satellite, Mozi, to relay the quantum key for data encryption that, by the laws of physics, could not be hacked, with an objective of building a more risk-proof and cost-effective system.
In the backdrop of growing belligerence with the island state of Taiwan, this is evidently indicative of China’s threat perception. On the other hand, Taiwan is seen as a breakaway province while China aims to eventually reunite with its mainland.
In order to assume control of the power grid operating in the coastal province without their directives being exposed to tapping or manipulation by a third party, the ultra-secure communication channel was used in a drill in May this year to allow central government officials and this is precisely where the quantum satellite-led central response system assumes significance.
Indications were already visible
Back in january 2020, the reports of China developing the first-ever quantum satellite-based ground stations emerged while however, Mozi was unveiled in 2016 itself.
In January the previous year, it was reported by the Hong Kong-based publication, South China Morning Post that a quantum satellite ground station that fits inside a family car and can broadcast ultra-secure messages anywhere in the world has been invented by Chinese scientists.
It was reported that designed by China’s University of Science and Technology, the transportable device weighed around 80 kilograms. The capability of connecting to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ quantum satellite, Mozi was reported to be equipped by it along with receiving encryption keys in the form of entangled light particles with the addition of a 28cm (11 inches) telescope.
The working of the quantum satellite integrated network on the ground was attempted to be explained in the mentioned report. The application of it in the security of the power grid was not immediately revealed even though the satellite system and ground infrastructure were ready last year.