Infineon Technologies claims it is ready to provide a smooth transition from today’s security protocols to next-generation post-quantum cryptography (PQC), having demonstrated the first PQC implementation on a commercially available contactless security chip.
“Demonstrating post-quantum cryptography on a contactless security chip puts Infineon in a leading position in this field,” said Stefan Hofschen, President of the Chip Card & Security Division of Infineon. “Our security solutions rely on trusted and standardized private and public key algorithms. To better respond to security threats that are yet to come, we continuously collaborate with the academic community, customers and partners. And we push for future standards that can be executed efficiently and securely on small and embedded devices.”
Quantum computer attacks on today’s cryptography are expected to become reality within the next 15 to 20 years. Once available, quantum computers could solve certain calculations much faster than today’s computers, threatening even best currently known security algorithms such as RSA and ECC. Various internet standards like Transport Layer Security (TLS), S/MIME or PGP/ GPG use cryptography based on RSA or ECC to protect data communication with smart cards, computers, servers or industrial control systems. Online banking on “https” sites or “instant messaging” encryption on mobile phones are well-known examples.
Security experts at Infineon’s Munich headquarters and the Center of Excellence for contactless technologies in Graz, Austria, made a breakthrough in this field. They implemented a post-quantum key exchange scheme on a commercially available contactless smart card chip. Key exchange schemes are used to establish an encrypted channel between two parties. The deployed algorithm is a variant of “New Hope”, a quantum-resistant cryptosystem also explored successfully by Google on a development version of the Chrome browser.