Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

When quantum computers are able to decrypt encrypted data, Zoom claims to be the first provider of videoconferencing software to safeguard users using post-quantum cryptography. Zoom is integrating end-to-end “post-quantum” encryption into its audio and video conferencing software. The objective is to safeguard communication data transmitted among its applications in the event that quantum computers surpass the computational capacity of current encryption techniques. The latest encryption methods that safeguard internet communications, which includes everything from text messaging to online banking and shopping, are currently impossible for modern or “classical” computers to crack. However, security experts are worried that cybercriminals may use a tactic known as “harvest now, decrypt later,” whereby they gather encrypted data now and decrypt it later when quantum computers are powerful enough. Zoom announced on Tuesday that it will use “post-quantum cryptography” to improve the EE2E features already included in its Zoom Workplace applications in order to protect conversations on its meetings apps in the long run. Zoom said in a blog post that it’s the first provider of unified communication software to accomplish this. This entails Zoom using Kyber 768, a key encapsulation mechanism (KEM) method that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is standardizing. In order to provide a collection of “post-quantum” algorithms resistant to attacks from upcoming quantum computers, NIST has been working on this project. According to Heather West, research manager for quantum computing at IDC’s Infrastructure Systems, Platforms, and Technology Group, existing systems are small in scale and have high error rates, despite the fact that quantum computers are capable of decrypting classical algorithms due to their ability to solve complex mathematical equations. Because of this, current classical algorithms are not in danger just yet. However, as quantum computing develops, systems that can execute Shor’s algorithm may become available. By one definition, Shor’s algorithm is a quantum algorithm that can “efficiently factorize large composite numbers,” which shortens the time needed to break classical encryption.

“Due to this advantage, there is concern that some entities — specifically state-sponsored actors — are breaching and stealing data with a long-shelf life value now (think financial, government, DOD, etc.) with the intent of using future quantum systems to decrypt it and use it later,” said West.

There are now a number of projects underway to discover and create post-quantum cryptography algorithms that businesses can use to become quantum-resilient. For instance, later this year, NIST is anticipated to present its final recommendations for a global program that it initiated in 2016. US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. published two security memorandums (NSM-8 and NSM10) in 2022 to give government organizations instructions and deadlines for putting post-quantum cryptography into practice.

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