PQShield – The story so far, from our Founder & CEO

Author: Dr Ali El Kaafarani
Topic: Comment, Events, News

In June 2015, I moved from Hewlett-Packard Labs to the Mathematical Institute to start a Post-Quantum Cryptography project. Shortly after, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) made their game-changing announcement stating they are now standardizing Post-Quantum Cryptography, making it clear that having a fully-functioning, fault tolerant, quantum computer is no longer out of reach!

As a cryptographer who has recently witnessed way too many cybersecurity attacks exposing personal data records of millions of people, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what could happen with the existence of quantum computers if we are not well prepared. Corporates and governments that store billions of people’s data records can’t just sit back and watch the disaster as it unfolds. At the same time, we can’t just tell the world what the problem is without giving them practical and secure solutions.

After long fruitful discussions with eminent academics at the University of Oxford, as well as experienced cryptographers, both from academia and industry that I had the chance to meet and work with in the last three years, the idea of PQShield started coming together in my head in August 2017, until PQShield was officially born in May 2018.

Being the sole founder was real challenge, to say the least. However, the help that I got from the Mathematical Institute, Oxford University Innovation (OUI), and Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) was truly essential. As a result, PQShield is now the biggest spinout of Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute, and home to the brightest talents in cryptography. We genuinely believe in protecting our future from the misuse of quantum computers, and understand the sacredness of privacy and confidentiality.

I, hereby, extend my invitation to world experts in post-quantum cryptography, who share our views, to join us in this mission to protect our information society.

With funding support from InnovateUK and Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), we are getting ready for the quantum era… are you?