Google testing new crypto in Chrome to combat quantum attacks

Google said it is working on protecting Chrome against the threat from quantum computers by experimenting with a post-quantum cryptography.

Google said it is working on protecting Chrome against the threat from quantum computers by experimenting with a post-quantum cryptography. The search giant has announced a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm called 'New Hope' that has been enabled in Chrome Canary. It is sort of testing ground for browsers and is currently being experimented on only a small fraction of connections between desktop Chrome and Google's servers.

"Today we're announcing an experiment in Chrome where a small fraction of connections between desktop Chrome and Google's servers will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm that would typically be used. By adding a post-quantum algorithm on top of the existing one, we are able to experiment without affecting user security," Google wrote in a blogpost.

Quantum computers are small and experimental with only a handful of quantum bits. However, they do exist and Google wants to be prepared for a possible threat in the future. "However, a hypothetical, future quantum computer would be able to retrospectively decrypt any internet communication that was recorded today, and many types of information need to remain confidential for decades. Thus even the possibility of a future quantum computer is something that we should be thinking about today," Google further explains.

'New Hope' has been developed by researchers Erdem Alkim, Léo Ducas, Thomas Pöppelmann and Peter Schwabe. According to Google, their scheme looked most promising post-quantum key-exchange while it was investigating in December 2015. Though it is still very early for quantum computers Google believes that it is right time to start preparing for it.

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