There is an experimental computing technology that is considered a looming threat. Experts say the technology in question could threaten the way people’s data is protected. To guard against this kind of looming danger, Google is testing out ways to super-protect its users’ data.
Google last Thursday unveiled a web encryption method which they are calling “New Hope”. Even though the technology is still experimental, the company is taking no chances. The looming threat has been identified as quantum computing. We’ll see how it’s classified as a threat later but for now the search giant is using “New Hope” to fend off quantum attacks. The test is being done on a small number of Chrome browser users when they connect to the company’s servers.
Google has a plan to protect against quantum
How exactly does quantum computing work? A piece on Washington Post gives us a brief explanation about quantum computing: Quantum computing could prove to be a huge problem to encryption. Because normal computers rely on bits, the smallest units of data represented by a zero or one to process and store data. Quantum computers on the other hand use bits or “qubits.” These are way superior to the ones on normal computers. This means a quantum computer’s bits can encode more complex pieces of information.
That actually means that quantum computers work way extraordinarily than normal computers. It means they can solve certain kinds of problems much, much faster than regular computers—this includes guessing the digital keys used to lock encryptions that are used today. What that actually means is that quantum computing could be used as some sort of master lock pick by governments and cybercriminals. With this kind of power in their hands, it will be a piece of cake to access everything from your email to your online bank account.
Luckily quantum computers (large enough to perform these kinds of operations) as at now only exist in theory. However, Google isn’t taking any chances however theoretical it may be. The company wants to head off the problem by deploying “post-quantum” algorithms sooner rather than later. These are designed to be more difficult to crack with the type of processing quantum computing uses.
“The algorithm they’re testing now, New Hope — and yes, that is a Star Wars reference — was created by cryptography researchers Erdem Alkim, Léo Ducas, Thomas Pöppelmann and Peter Schwabe. In Google’s experiment, the New Hope-based system is used alongside current industry standards to ensure that data remains protected for now, even if the test is unsuccessful.” Reported the Washington Post in a tech news article.
If the experiment is successful, the information Google’s “New Hope” protects will be safe from the prying eyes of hackers and governments. Even if they were able to deploy sophisticated quantum computers somewhere down the line, Google would have already taken care of the problem.
“A hypothetical, future quantum computer would be able to retrospectively decrypt any Internet communication that was recorded today, and many types of information need to remain confidential for decades,” Google software engineer Matt Braithwaite wrote in a blog post revealing the experiment. “Thus even the possibility of a future quantum computer is something that we should be thinking about today.”