Google hopes to thwart quantum computers from cracking today's Internet encryption

Google is testing out new cryptography that could future-proof Internet communications

The encryption methods used to secure today’s Internet communications won’t be impenetrable forever. More powerful “quantum computers” on the horizon could very well crack them.

That’s why Google is testing out new cryptography that computers in the future might not be able to break.

The processing power offered by "hypothetical, future" quantum computers could be enough to “decrypt any internet communication that was recorded today,” wrote Matt Braithwaite, a Google software engineer in a company blog post on Thursday.

This could affect the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol used when visiting websites. Old information, originally meant to be secured for decades, could suddenly become exposed, he added.

The quantum computers available today, however, are still small and experimental, but the tech industry has been moving closer to making them a mainstream reality.

They represent a leap over current computers, which rely on data represented as 0s and 1s. Quantum computers, on the other hand, use qubits that can simultaneously be both 0 and 1, which can help them run far more efficiently.

Regardless of when quantum computers arrive, Google still wants to prepare for the security risks posed by them.

To future-proof today’s Internet communications, the search giant will deploy what it’s calling “post-quantum cryptography” and will test it using its browser Chrome Canary.

The experiment will only cover a small fraction of the connections between the browser and Google’s servers, and be used on top of its current encryption algorithm.

In its test, Google is using a cryptography algorithm called “New Hope." However, the test will only last two years, and Google hopes it can replace the algorithm with something better.

“The post-quantum algorithm might turn out to be breakable even with today's computer,” Braithwaite wrote. “Alternatively, if the post-quantum algorithm turns out to be secure then it'll protect the connection even against a future, quantum computer."

Users of Chrome Canary can tell if the post-quantum algorithm is in use by checking the browser's security panel and looking for "CECPQ1" in the key exchange.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?