CCC Workshop Report Released: Identifying Research Challenges in Post Quantum Cryptography Migration and Cryptographic Agility

September 16, 2019 | Computing Community Consortium (CCC)

Roberta Faux (Director of Advanced Cryptography at BlackHorse Solutions) participated in a workshop held by the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) in Washington, DC on January 31 - February 1, 2019 to discuss research challenges asociated with PQC migration entitled, "Identifying Research Chalenges in Post Quantum Cryptography Migration and Cryptographic Agility." Workshop organizers, David Ott (VMware) and Chris Peikert (University of Michigan), released the final workshop report here.

We are grateful to have been able to participate in the workshop with the brightest minds from respected companies and academic institutions.

The implications of sufficiently powerful quantum computers for widely used public-key cryptography is well documented and increasingly discussed by the security community. Specifically, widely used RSA, ECDSA, ECDH, and DSA cryptosystems will need to be replaced by post-quantum cryptography (PQC) alternatives (also known as quantum-resistant or quantum-safe cryptography). Failure to transition before sufficiently powerful quantum computers are realized will jeopardize the security of public key cryptosystems which are widely deployed within communication protocols, digital signing mechanisms, authentication frameworks, and more.

To avoid this, NIST has actively led a PQC standardization effort since 2016, leveraging a large and international research community. While NIST’s standardization effort aims to determine which PQC algorithms are robust enough to provide suitable alternatives for the threat of quantum computers, that effort does not address the problem of migration from today’s widely deployed algorithms to future PQC alternatives across the diversity of computer systems that serve our society. The extensiveness of public key cryptography usage across the Internet means that an industry-wide migration to quantum safe cryptography standards (i.e., PQC) will be a massive undertaking, and one that is complicated by the layered complexity and heterogeneity of the worldwide compute infrastructure we operate.

CCC workshop discussion centered around two key themes: identifying constituent challenges in PQC migration and imagining a new science of “cryptographic agility.”

Key findings for PQC migration include:

Key findings for cryptographic agility include:

Additional findings include:

See the full report here to learn more.

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