September 27, 2013

Photons & Quantum Physics Used For Smart Grid Security by GridCOM Startup

grid Cyber security is something that many power grid businesses fear and invest in, and startups and entrepreneurs are innovating to deliver various options for security solutions for the power grid. One example would be GridCOM Technologies which is a startup that tends to flow under the radar and has recently developed a new tool based on quantum physics which could give the grid the protection they need from future digital security attacks.


GridCOM was founded just a little over a year ago and their technology currently used quantum cryptology to generate induce codes using tiny packets of light (photons) that protect communications among a group of electronic devices from the pcs that administrates power transmission to smart meters. Their quantum cryptology utilizes physics to protect cyber communications.


Their approach varies from the conventional mathematically based encryption methods which are normally used for securing communications over the Internet. While shutterstock_29230312-300x200conventional methods have been around for quite some time and have done an okay job and fairly reasonable priced they do not offer the potency and speed that many owners of private energy data might want.


Based near San Diego in Carlsbad, the startup has recently raised their first round of seed money which came from Ellis Energy Investment. The amount that was invested was not shared publically but the co-founder Duncan Earl says that it will be enough to fund them for the next 24 months.


GridCOM believes that many utility executives are very concerned about the security of their networks. Cyber-attacks on utility grids have been rather rare up until recently. The biggest reason why the grid wasn’t vulnerable was because most computers and other important equipment used by utilities are mostly analog and not digital, and have been created with proprietary, personalized technologies for each specific utility closed off network.


The push to utilize smart grid technologies will require the transformation of the grid to embrace more digital equipment with normal technical standards and communication protocols.  Additionally, the ability of the Internet for many in a network creates an insecurity that never existed before.


While many utility companies are now worrying more about their cyber security they don’t want to put forth the money needed to put the best technology in place. Newer regulations on cyber security make it harder for utilities to come up with and put into action good plans.


The technology for GridCOM lies in the quantum server which will provide tons of keys, each of which is a string of two hundred bits of 1’s and 0’s that has the ability for encrypting messages in no time at all. Their customers will have the ability to download as many keys as needed. These keys will work within four milliseconds which is comparable to the timeframe that the utility’s machines require in order to communicate with the others in the event that there is a grid emergency. The conventional encryption methods require more time which gives hackers the time needed to disrupt and listen in to communications.


The keys source is quantum entangled photons. This is the key to keeping companies and their grid protecting so as time changes they are able to maintain top notch security. The company is still in the beta stages of development but hope to have things ready to be reviewed for a demonstration by 2014.





    A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of "exit". The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth. Paul Graham, Y-Combinator