The Department of the Air Force recently awarded SandboxAQ, an enterprise SaaS company that provides governments and the Global 1000 with the cumulative benefits of AI and quantum (AQ) technology, a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to carry out post-quantum cryptographic inventory analysis and performance benchmarking.
As part of the agreement, SandboxAQ will evaluate the encryption currently in use and identify any software enhancements that offer an end-to-end, crypto-agile framework to protect the Air Force and Space Force data networks from potential quantum technology-based attacks. It is known that Phase 1 SBIR payments typically range from $225,000 to $350,000 for projects lasting 6 to 12 months. Nevertheless, the company chose not to reveal the contract’s financial details.
This new partnership, which is a part of the Air Force’s effort to get ready for The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, which mandates that US federal agencies upgrade to post-quantum encryption, is SandboxAQ’s first military contract since being spun off from Alphabet in March earlier this year. In general, the collaboration between the Air Force and SandboxAQ shows that the risk posed by post-quantum computing is real, for which businesses must start preparing.
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The SandboxAQ software package simplifies the implementation of post-quantum cryptography. The startup claims that its software package includes both conventional and encryption techniques resistant to quantum technology. There are also a number of tools included that can make it simpler for businesses to integrate the algorithms into their applications.
The news follows NIST’s decision to include four post-quantum encryption algorithms in its post-quantum cryptography standard, which has sparked a surge of interest.