Taj Quantum opens encrypted messaging app to Ukrainians for free

A tool aimed at financial and insurance companies for secure communication is now being opened to Ukrainians.

Cynthia Bent Findlay
For Columbus CEO
Paul Lilly, CEO and founder, Taj Quantum

Information is power, the saying goes. A central Ohio startup is speeding its entry into the consumer cybersecurity space—and giving its product away for free to Ukrainians to help combat their Russian aggressors.

Taj Quantum offers what its founder and CEO Paul Lilly says is not only state-of-the-art but future-proof technology and techniques.

Taj Quantum already provides secure networks to U.S. government clients using a proprietary two-layer method that Lilly says goes a generation beyond 256-bit encryption, the current industry standard.

Most data can be intercepted over today’s global internet, but most users encrypt that data in some way so that it can’t be used by thieves. But cracking encryption is a matter of time, and the better the encryption, the longer it takes for hackers to crack it.

“The challenge with state sponsors and large ransomware groups hacking is that with their significant resources, they can penetrate those systems fast,” he says—in a matter of minutes, too, on most days.

Lilly says Taj Quantum created a much longer decryption key, “which means that same attacker, it would take them around 200 to 300 years to get through that same message.”

Second, Taj Quantum hides even globally flowing data streams from attacker’s views so they can’t be detected and attacked in the first place.

“By eliminating anyone’s ability to see where data is coming from or going to, that eliminates DDoS attacks, another problem facing websites like a government’s,” Lilly says.

Taj Quantum calls its method “post-quantum resistant,” meaning that even when quantum computing becomes reality—and it’s when, not if, according to Lilly—Taj security will face the challenge.

Taj’s parent company, Lilly Global Consulting, has been fulfilling U.S. military and other government cybersecurity contracts for the past three years. In January, the U.S. government issued the company clearance to launch a commercial version, and Taj was working toward a launch later this year, including an app allowing individuals to use the company’s secure network.

Taj Quantum opens secure communication app for Ukrainians

Initially Taj Quantum aimed at financial and insurance institutions and other commercial clients, but the war in Ukraine sped its plans. Temporarily using the open-source app Element, Taj launched a secure network for free to Ukrainians.

“The Russians bombed humanitarian workers because they found out where they were going, and that disgusted us,” Lilly says. “We have the ability to fix that.”

Taj Quantum partnered with a global telecom giant and reached out through board members with deep military and industry connections in eastern Europe, including Columbus entrepreneur Wade Morrell.

The offer, Lilly says, has been taken up eagerly, and their secure network is now serving more than 5,000 humanitarian workers, counterinsurgents, media and more.

The company’s own secure chat app, tentatively called P.A. System (for Project Autonomy), is still in development and should be launched within weeks. Lilly is aiming for $10 to $15 million in revenue in 2022.

Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.

Taj Quantum

Virtual company with operations in Columbus and Orlando

Business: Cybersecurity

CEO and founder: Paul Lilly

Funding: Federal contracts, undisclosed amount

Employees: 10