Chrome anti-quantum crypto

Google is experimenting with encryption in Chrome that, in theory, cannot be cracked by powerful quantum computers.

Today's quantum computers are science experiments, but it is believed future machines – if they ever materialize – will be able to perform the calculations needed to break today's cryptography. With that fear in mind, the web giant is toying with "post-quantum cryptography" that remains "secure even against quantum computers."

This anti-quantum tech will be used to scramble some communications between Chrome and Google's systems, such as the Play Store, on top of existing HTTPS algorithms. Googler Matt Braithwaite explained on Thursday:

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. The post-quantum algorithm might turn out to be breakable even with today's computers, in which case the elliptic-curve algorithm will still provide the best security that today’s technology can offer. Alternatively, if the post-quantum algorithm turns out to be secure then it'll protect the connection even against a future, quantum computer.

You'll have to be using Chrome Canary – the bleeding-edge build of the web browser – to take part in the tests. Google's engineers hope to use of the results of the trial to gain "real-world experience" of the post-quantum New Hope algorithm in action. ®


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