For anyone who cares about Internet security and encryption, the advent of practical quantum computing looms like the Y2K bug in the 1990s, a countdown to an unpredictable event that might just break everything. The concern: hackers and intelligence agencies could use advanced quantum attacks to crack current encryption techniques and learn, well, anything they want. Now Google is starting the slow, hard work of preparing for that future, beginning with a web browser designed to keep your secrets even when they’re attacked by a quantum computer more powerful than any the world has seen.
The search giant today revealed that it’s been rolling out a new form of encryption in its Chrome browser that’s designed to resist not just existing crypto-cracking methods, but also attacks that might take advantage of a future quantum computer that accelerates codebreaking techniques untold gajillions of times over. For now, it’s only testing that new so-called “post-quantum” crypto in some single digit percentage of Chrome desktop installations, which will be updated so that they use the new encryption protocol when they connect to some Google services. But the experiment nonetheless represents the biggest real-world rollout ever of encryption that’s resistant to quantum attacks, and a milestone in the security world’s preparations to head off a potentially disastrous but still-distant quantum cryptopocalypse.To read more, click here.