Post-quantum smartcard tech for health data scheme

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Toppan and the NICT in Japan will develop secure post-quantum data communication, storage, and access technologies for the Healthcare Long-term INtegrity and Confidentiality protection System (H-LINCOS)1 developed by the NICT and its collaborative partners.

Quantum secure cloud technology fuses quantum cryptography and secret sharing technologies to facilitate secure data communication, storage, and use. The establishment of the technology will not only ensure a high level of security that makes tampering and decryption impossible, but also enable the collection, analysis, processing, and use of highly sensitive personal and corporate information accumulated in such fields as medical care, new materials, manufacturing, and finance.

Toppan will use its expertise in smart card security and authentication technology to drive the application of post-quantum public key cryptography and development of authentication systems to facilitate safe and secure management of digital information.

If quantum computing comes into use, it will be possible to decrypt public key cryptography currently used on the Internet. Significant progress has been made in quantum computing technology in recent years. Development and standardization of post-quantum public key cryptography technologies, which are expected to be difficult to crack even in the age of quantum computing, are being advanced in countries around the world.

Access control in H-LINCOS combines an authority matrix based on 26 types of official Japanese healthcare qualification with highly secure user authentication based on post-quantum public key cryptography. However, with the current system, healthcare professionals have to input ID numbers and passwords on dedicated healthcare system terminals.

Based on the information, the terminals control access by verifying identity and cross-checking against a stored post-quantum digital certificate. Going forward, however, there is a need for access control and management that allows healthcare professionals to view the information they need in a way that is simple and secure without touching a terminal. Access control enabled by contactless biometric authentication combined with the reading of ID cards is one example of the kind of solution being targeted.

The two organizations anticipate that establishing international standards for quantum secure cloud technology using quantum key distribution and post-quantum public key cryptography will provide an edge in technical development and ensure that it is beneficial for businesses. The research should contribute to a society in which highly sensitive information can be communicated, stored, and used securely in the future.

The project will focus specifically on introducing smart cards equipped with post-quantum public key cryptography to H-LINCOS and testing related authentication system technology. Toppan and the NICT will also upgrade post-quantum public key cryptography incorporated in quantum secure cloud technology to the latest version being standardized in the United States, and verify technology for secure communication, storage, and use of highly sensitive data. Application of post-quantum public key cryptography to smart cards and technical verification of authentication systems will begin in fiscal 2022, with targets for limited practical application in 2025 and the launch of services in 2030.

Toppan will exhibit at the first QUANTUM COMPUTING EXPO TOKYO [Spring], which will be held at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre this week from April 7 to 9, 2021.

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