Quantum Computing: Intel Is Working On encryption For Computer


Intel is preparing for the future arrival of quantum computers, which will render current cryptographic algorithms inefficient. The firm is working on a new “post-quantum” encryption system called Bike. Thanks to the use of a hardware accelerator, this new security can be integrated into low-power connected objects.


The world of cybersecurity has been preparing for the arrival of quantum computing in recent years, which risks compromising the security of data and communications protected by encryption algorithms. These prevent access to the data for anyone who does not have the decryption key. However, quantum computers will only need a few moments to break the best algorithms in use today.


Researchers at Intel are therefore working on “post-quantum” cryptography which will resist the arrival of new quantum computers. In an article presented at the QUE20 quantum computing conference, the firm presents its work on a suite of algorithms called  Bit-flipping Key Encapsulation (Bike) or key encapsulation by bit switching. Intel has succeeded in optimizing the performance of the algorithm as well as creating a hardware accelerator for low power devices.


The research is mainly focused on decryption with Bike, the most intensive operation. Their system is based on an Intel Arria 10 FPGA SoC and manages to perform a decoding operation in 12 milliseconds, or 1.3 million cycles at 110 megahertz. This compares to operating on a processor Intel Core i5 6260u is yet much more powerful. Bike encryption is level 5, the highest level of the U.S. Standards Institute ( NIST ), according to the researchers. It is therefore equivalent to the AES-256 algorithm.


This advance could make it possible to use this encryption mode to protect exchanges with low-power devices and in particular connected objects. This work is part of the post-quantum cryptographic standardization process organized by NIST. The American agency should publish in 2022 the first post-quantum standards retained for the encryption of communications.

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