• Vincent Lyles

Pugged Code in a Post Quantum World

Lots has been said about how the World will change once successful quantum computers are part of the landscape. In the field of cryptography, algorithms which rely on using large primes will become vulnerable to brute force attacks. The very important public key encryption algorithm RSA is an example which relies on primes. Quantum computers will be able to run Shor's algorithm [and probably others too] to rapidly find primes and hence encryption keys.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology [NIST] set a competition to find secure Post Quantum Cryptographic Algorithms [PQCAs]. There are now several finalists. In one section of the competition, NIST asked the entrants to outline their PQCA's vulnerability to side channel attacks. Three out of four admitted to vulnerabilities and the fourth remained silent on the subject.

Lattice Based Cryptography [a group of PQCAs] shows great resilience to quantum computing but, sadly is vulnerable to side channel attack. Researchers at Queen's University, Belfast, collaborating with others at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, and Università Della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland**, surveyed this field in terms of side channel attacks and proposed counter- measures. They noted that although weaknesses were evident and counter-measures proposed, the cost, practicality and effectiveness of these on multiple implementation platforms, remained unclear.

We think that all the NIST finalists in the PQCAs competition [and others that didn't make it that far] can be converted by Pugged Code to have great resistance to successful side channel attacks. We have completed some underpinning work on PQCAs [including lattice-based cryptography] and will confirm our progress once our next patent application is on file.


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