Google Readies for ‘Quantum Apocalypse’ with Chrome Update


Google is preparing for a “quantum apocalypse”.

Experts have forewarned for years that the development of quantum computers could undermine the encryption that presently protects our private messages and financial information.

Quantum computers are a mainly theoretical technology whose proponents claim they could significantly outperform our current classical computers. This could be extremely advantageous for applications such as drug research and quantum computation, but catastrophic for security technology.

Much of this security technology relies on mathematical problems that are too difficult for our computers to solve in order to maintain the confidentiality of the data. However, future quantum computers could circumvent these obstacles in mere seconds and decrypt any data.

Researchers refer to this as the “quantum apocalypse” And an entire subfield of computation — post-quantum cryptography — has developed in order to secure data even if such a future materializes.

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Google’s Quantum-Resistant Chrome: Advancing Security with Cryptographic Innovation

Google is preparing for a “quantum apocalypse”

Now, Google has implemented some of this work in Chrome. The new technology incorporates cryptography that should be resistant to attempts by future quantum computers to decrypt it.

It accomplishes this by integrating a technology known as X25519Kyber768, which is a hybrid of two cryptographic algorithms despite its lengthy name. By combining the two, data is protected by both an existing secure algorithm and one that is resistant to quantum computers.

The modifications are part of Google’s larger effort to “prepare the web for the migration to quantum-resistant cryptography.”

Devon O’Brien, the technical program manager for Chrome security at Google and the author of the blog post announcing the modifications, noted that quantum computers may not be available for decades. However, it remains essential to secure data now so that it cannot be filed away and accessed when the technology becomes available.

“It’s believed that quantum computers that can break modern classical cryptography won’t arrive for 5, 10, possibly even 50 years from now, so why is it important to start protecting traffic today? The answer is that certain uses of cryptography are vulnerable to a type of attack called Harvest Now, Decrypt Later, in which data is collected and stored today and later decrypted once cryptanalysis improves.”

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Source: Independent

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