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Danske Bank helps researchers reach milestone within it-security

Leading researchers from DTU (Denmarks Technical University) have for the first time successfully taken quantum communication out of the lab and used it to securely transfer data at Danske Bank. This is a breakthrough in both the development of digital communication and the race against cyber criminals, experts say.

Many years’ work developing secure quantum communication at DTU has culminated in researchers, in collaboration with consultancy firm KPMG, successfully transferring data between two of Danske Bank’s computers that simulate data centres.

The demonstration which has just been completed is promising for future data security and society’s race against cyber criminals. The event marked the first data transfer in the Nordics secured by quantum keys on a network outside a laboratory.


As a bank, we have a responsibility to constantly seek new ways to protect our customers’ data and ensure that we are a step ahead of the criminals in the tech arms race.

Lance McGrath

Chief Security Officer, Danske Bank




“We are very proud to help the researchers reach this milestone and at the same time gain first-hand experience of quantum-safe data transfer, which potentially has great significance for the future security of digital communication,” says Lance McGrath, Chief Security Officer at Danske Bank and elaborates:

“As a bank, we have a responsibility to constantly seek new ways to protect our customers’ data and ensure that we are a step ahead of the criminals in the tech arms race.”

Data protected by the laws of physics
The technology used is ‘continuous variable quantum key distribution’ (CV-QKD). Developed at DTU, it enables the creation and sharing of secure encryption keys with the help of standard telecom fibre optics. Therefore, it can be used in the bank’s network and eventually in other critical infrastructures where security is paramount.


Our approach is different and instead uses the fundamental unpredictability and randomness of quantum mechanics as the source of security. This way we create the foundation for data transfers that are impossible to hack unless you break the laws of physics.

Tobias Gehring

Associate professor, DTU Department of Physics - Image: Joachim Rode



“Data security using standard encryption methods is based on great mathematical complexity. You can think of it as a calculation where the solution is very difficult to find but, conversely, where it is very easy to check whether a solution is correct. Our approach is different and instead uses the fundamental unpredictability and randomness of quantum mechanics as the source of security. This way we create the foundation for data transfers that are impossible to hack unless you break the laws of physics,” says associate professor Tobias Gehring, DTU Department of Physics, who has led the research group behind the new technology. 

“Our technology exploits quantum physics to provide the sender and receiver with the keys they need to encrypt and decrypt their data while ensuring that no one else has knowledge of the keys,” he explains.

Everyone should quantum-secure their data transfers
KPMG has contributed with both financing and technological assistance to the quantum-safe data transfer experiment at Danske Bank – and according to KPMG  we should all begin to quantum-secure our data transfers:

“The incredible power of quantum computers could easily break the encryption our entire digital society is built on. It underlines the importance of projects like these that take the first steps towards securing our data from hacking in a future that will become reality within the next ten years,” says Bent Dalager, partner in KPMG’s NewTech department.

Further development and background on the demonstration

  • The demonstration of quantum-safe communication is part of the EU H2020 project OPENQKD
  • The development has been based on results from among others one of the EU's major flagship projects in which DTU participates: CiViQ
  • The data transfer at Danske Bank provided an important test of whether the technology can be used in a real network outside of the laboratory. The solution now has to be further developed so it can, for example, run autonomously and thus without human intervention. This is the focal point of CryptQ; a major collaborative project that merges researchers at DTU with Danske Bank and other organisations in Denmark.
  • Innovation Fund Denmark has invested DKK 22.5 million in the project, which aims to ensure a position for Denmark in the global market with a secure and cost-efficient technology for quantum communication.

  • Participating in the project are: DTU, Danske Bank, Energinet, Zybersafe ApS, Cryptomathic A/S, NKT Photonics A/S, Aarhus University, Danish National Metrology Institute.

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From overdrafts in the 1800s to MobilePay and our current Mobilebank – and now quantum computers. Innovation has always been part of Danske Bank’s DNA.
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