As digital devices become increasingly interconnected, the need for security is more important than ever. One of the biggest threats to security is quantum computing, which can break through traditional encryption methods. To stay ahead of the curve, researchers are working on developing quantum resistant algorithms. These algorithms are designed to be resistant to computing attacks, and they have the potential to revolutionize digital security. Quantum resistant algorithms are still in the early stages of development, but they hold great promise for keeping data safe from quantum computers in the future.
We don’t know when quantum computing will become possible, or if its presence will be announced by our adversaries, but its arrival can make our past and future digitally encrypted secrets visible. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) started looking at multiple potential solutions in 2016, and it will take until 2024 to complete, as multiple quantum resistant algorithms are needed to protect a wide range of data storage and sharing situations. Having multiple algorithms for each particular use case is also protection if one solution proves vulnerable. This announcement of the Kyber selection is specific to public key encryption (for an explanation of the technology, use cases, risks and solutions see Quantum Changes Everything: Protect Your Data Now):
“A team of 10 computer scientists from across Europe and North America built Kyber, which is based on an award-winning paper published in 2009 by Israeli-American computer scientist Oded Regev. After first submitting Kyber to NIST in 2017, the team has provided two major revisions that improve the overall security and efficiency of the tool.
Kyber exploits a field of mathematics called lattice problems. By contrast, RSA exploits a field of mathematics called the factoring problem. Phones, laptops, desktops, servers and other computers made en masse cannot solve the factoring problem, making RSA safe in most situations, but quantum computers will one day be able to crack the encryption.
Mathematicians have known since 1994 how a quantum computer could solve the factoring problem and therefore break RSA. The problem has been engineering a computer that can actually do so.
“While in the past it was less clear that large quantum computers are a physical possibility, many scientists now believe it to be merely a significant engineering challenge,” reads NIST’s webpage on post-quantum encryption.”
Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group