Google has developed and announced a new cryptography method that’s resistant to attacks even from future quantum computers.
As quantum computing progresses, there's an increasing urgency to transition away from current security keys, which are susceptible to quantum attacks.
In particular, the standard public key cryptography was designed to protect against traditional computers and will not be able to withstand quantum attacks.
“While quantum attacks are still in the distant future, deploying cryptography at internet scale is a massive undertaking which is why doing it as early as possible is vital,” Google engineers write in a blog post.
According to them, users will have to gradually acquire new security keys once post-quantum cryptography is standardized with FIDO (Fast Identity Online Alliance) and supported by major browser vendors.
The new FIDO2 key uses a cryptographic algorithm, the Dilithium, developed in collaboration with ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Dilithium is one of the candidate algorithms submitted to the NIST post-quantum cryptography project.
According to Google, the standardization of quantum resilient cryptography paved a clear path to secure cryptography. The quantum resilient FIDO2 security key is open-source and released here.
The proposed implementation also combines the ECDSA signature, which is battle tested. This approach should offer “the best of both worlds.”
“Relying on a hybrid signature is critical as the security of Dilithium and other recently standardized quantum-resistant algorithms haven’t yet stood the test of time,” Google explains.
Careful optimization was needed to implement the security measure small enough to run on constrained hardware. Google promises that memory-optimized implementation only required 20 KB of memory, and the signature speed was “well within the expected security key specification.”
If large-scale quantum computers are ever built, they can break many of the public-key cryptosystems currently in use.
Cybernews reported that IBM, Google, and other companies are racing to create the fastest quantum computer, a device that could completely change today's cryptography. Secure communications, banking, and cryptocurrencies rely on robust encryption for their safety and security, and old cryptography methods may not survive the current decade.
“This would seriously compromise the confidentiality and integrity of digital communications on the internet and elsewhere. The goal of post-quantum cryptography is to develop cryptographic systems that are secure against both quantum and classical computers, and can interoperate with existing communications protocols and networks,” NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) explains.
Google has implemented some of its research in the Chrome browser, as Chrome, starting from build 116, will begin supporting X25519Kyber768, a quantum-resistant algorithm for establishing symmetric secrets in TLS.
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