A company claiming to have reached a crucial computer security breakthrough faces questions over Russian links after deleting references to its work with Moscow academics

Switzerland’s Terra Quantum removed Russian researchers from its website after it said it had solved a quantum cryptography puzzle that could protect communications networks.

Experts have questioned the company’s claims to have mastered quantum cryptography, a technique meant to guard against powerful new computers.

According to an archived version of its website, Terra Quantum has recently removed the names of two members of its leadership team – Gordey Lesovik, a prominent Russian physicist, and co-founder Karl Eckstein, who worked for Swiss companies in Russia in the Cold War. It also removed a list of staff that included professors and PhDs from Russian institutes. 

Terra Quantum claims to have enabled quantum key distribution – protecting data during transit – over a distance of 40,000km. It is seen as vital to securing critical communications and telecoms networks against quantum computers.

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Alan Woodward, a security expert at the University of Surrey and a government adviser, said any Russian links would be likely to raise concerns among Western security services who see quantum as a critical technology.

Terra Quantum said it had removed the names of staff to deter poaching from headhunters and that Mr Lesovik remained among its key scientists. It said it was in the process of peer-reviewing its work