In May 2018, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Quantum Safe Security Working Group published a paper detailing The State of Post-Quantum Cryptography.
The paper outlines the key drivers behind the evolution of post-quantum cryptography and the threat to public-key cryptography posed by the quantum computer. It provides an overview of the quantum-resistant alternatives available, before explaining the important differences between post-quantum cryptography and quantum cryptography.
As technology giants such as Microsoft, Google, IBM and Intel join the race to develop a viable quantum computer, national and international standards authorities are working to develop quantum resistant cryptographic primitives.
The evolution of the quantum computer poses a genuine threat to the security of public key cryptography – the technology that underpins virtually all the key exchange and digital signature systems in place today.
Historically, cryptographic transition has taken a long time. With experts predicting a ten-year roadmap for the arrival of a quantum computer, organisations need to act now if they are to avoid widespread systems vulnerabilities.
In The State of Post-Quantum Cryptography, the CSA profiles the main categories of quantum-resistant algorithm in development. It includes a summary of Lattice-Based Cryptography, Hash-Based Schemes, Elliptic Curve Isogenies, Multivariate Cryptography and Code-Based Cryptography.
Quantum-resistant cryptography may be a logical evolution of existing public key cryptography, but it is not without its challenges. The need for significantly larger keys, for example, would generate a data overhead that may impact network and application performance.
Post-Quantum Cryptography versus Quantum Cryptography
The development of quantum resistant algorithms is completely different to the use of quantum technologies to provide data and communications security. The best-known form of quantum cryptography is quantum key distribution (QKD), which is used to establish shared keys with guaranteed forward secrecy. It is likely that both QKD and post-quantum algorithms will have a role to play to provide Quantum-Safe Security now and in the future.
About the CSA
The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within Cloud Computing, and to provide education on the uses of Cloud Computing to help secure all other forms of computing.
The Cloud Security Alliance is led by a broad coalition of industry practitioners, corporations, associations and other key stakeholders. For further information, visit www.cloudsecurityalliance.org