Europe leads on post-quantum encryption technology

July 27, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
Europe leads on post-quantum encryption technology
European researchers are at the heart of the seven algorithms selected for the final stage in standardising post-quantum encryption technology

European researchers are leading the development of algorithms for post-quantum encryption (PQE) that have made it through to the third and final round of the standardisation process.

The Crystals group has post-quantum encryption algorithms in both the public key and digital signature categories of the process run by the NIST security standards body in the US. NIST sees one algorithm out of each category being standardised. The team includes researchers from ARM, NXP Semiconductor, CWI Amsterdam, Ruhr University Bochum, Radboud University in the Netherlands, IBM research in Zurich and ENS Lyon.

There are seven third round finalists, with Crystals-kyber competing with SABER from imec-COSIC at KU Leuven as well as the Classic McEliece, the open source NTRU developed in the US and the in the public key encryption category. These are all lattice-based algorithms that are less vulnerable to cracking by quantum computers. Classic McEliece is backed by Intel as well as researchers from Chicago, Yale, Oaska in Japan, Fraunhofer in Germany and TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands as well as Inria in France.The Classic McEliece now includes researchers from ETH Zurich and Post-Quantum in London. 

“We are pleased to have combined our cryptographic innovations with those of Professor Daniel Bernstein’s team to create a single NIST submission," said Andersen Cheng, CEO and Co-Founder at Post-Quantum. " Dan is one of the top cryptographers in the world and together with Professor Kenny Paterson from ETH Zurich, Professors Martin Albrecht and Carlos Cid from Royal Holloway University of London, we are confident our joint efforts will ensure Classic McEliece remains a tour de force for many years to come. This isn’t an academic exercise for us, we are already several years down the commercialisation path with real-world quantum-safe products for identity authentication and VPN," he said. 

In the Digital Signatures, Crystal-Dilthium is competing with Falcon and Rainbow. Falcon is backed by PQShield, a spinout of the University of Oxford, UK while Rainbow is led by

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