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Attacks on ’quantum-safe’ encryption surge – Arqit CEO comments on new research

May 2024 by David Williams CEO of Arqit

new paper from PSL University in France points to a sobering
reality – supposedly ’quantum-safe’ cryptographic systems may now
require updates or replacements.

Researchers Henry Bambury and Phong Q. Nguyen developed a method that
reduces the complexity of breaking NTRU lattices. Their findings reveal
a paradox, as the mathematical properties that enhance the efficiency of
cryptosystems can also make them vulnerable to more targeted attacks.
This highlights the ongoing tension between cryptographic design and
attack evolution.

This follows a recent Beijing University paper on potentially
cracking Lattice-based post-quantum algorithms (PQAs) and Microsoft
edging closer towards a Universal Quantum Computer.

David Williams, CEO at Arqit has made the following comments in

“Nguyen is highly regarded in lattice analysis, known for his success
in defeating proposed systems. This method, which seems mathematically
strong at first glance, applies to some popular PQA proposals where the
lattices have extra structure – including the often-overlooked FALCON.

“Despite FALCON’s victory in the NIST process, it lags behind KYBER
and DILITHIUM in standardisation, but its lower bandwidth requirements
might make it a good DILITHIUM alternative. The work shows how the
’effective dimension’ of the problem could be _roughly_ halved, which
would _roughly_ halve the bits of security. While the results lack
specific estimates of the idea’s impact on security, they do highlight
the importance of comparing it carefully with FALCON.

“The pace of attacks on post-quantum algorithms (PQA) is relentless.
It is now unrealistic for anyone to confidently predict that quantum
computers won’t break PQAs within 3-5 years. They might, or they might
not – but, betting the farm on a hunch that human progress will stall
isn’t a rational way to protect critical data assets. As the White
House and NSA have clearly stated, Symmetric Keys are the most sensible
strategy for ensuring data security. This is the only ‘sleep at
night’ answer.”

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