Building a Quantum-Safe Future: Keysight Introduces Post-Quantum Crypto Testing

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  May 07, 2024

Fellow editor Alex Passett and I have dabbled with a few articles related to the quantum computers field in the past. Earlier this year, QuSecure expanded its reach of its orchestrated cryptographic agile cybersecurity solution. In more recent news, we saw Cryptomathic appoint new leadership, and Intel setting a new benchmark for quantum computing performance.

More on quantum computers:

Quantum (News - Alert) computers leverage the strangeness of quantum mechanics to solve problems that would take traditional computers years, in minutes. This is great for scientific breakthroughs, but a nightmare for cybersecurity.

The current encryption methods we rely on, like RSA (News - Alert) and ECC, depend on the difficulty of factoring large numbers or solving elliptic curve cryptography problems. For regular computers, these are nearly impossible to crack. However, a powerful quantum computer could use Shor's algorithm to break these codes with ease.

To stay ahead of the curve, researchers are developing post-quantum cryptography, or PQC, algorithms. These are designed to be resistant to traditional and quantum computers. This is crucial because much of our sensitive data, like medical records or financial information, is encrypted with the expectation it will remain secure for years to come.

The problem? New technologies, even PQC, might not be foolproof. Existing hardware vulnerabilities, such as side-channel attacks that exploit weaknesses in physical systems, could be exploited to steal decryption keys. This highlights the ongoing need for vigilance in cybersecurity, even as we develop new tools to combat future threats.

Keysight Technologies will address this issue because its tool, Keysight Inspector, now has an automated function to analyze PQC algorithms.

Keysight Inspector, part of the company’s recently acquired device security research and test lab Riscure, now scrutinizes hardware implementations of Dilithium (News - Alert), a contender for PQC algorithms chosen by NIST. This will let chip designers confirm their products' resilience against emerging threats. Government agencies and security labs can also leverage Keysight Inspector to assess the integrity of third-party PQC solutions.

As PQC standardization progresses, Keysight anticipates a surge of novel security algorithms catering to diverse industries and applications. Verifying the reliability of these algorithms will be paramount. Keysight steps up to this challenge by offering not just the testing tools within Inspector, but also certification services.

Furthermore, Keysight Inspector boasts pre-silicon analysis capabilities. By simulating hardware code, it evaluates chips even before they're physically manufactured. This collaboration between Keysight and PQShield, a frontrunner in PQC solutions, allows for rigorous analysis throughout the entire development cycle.

“Keysight will help us verify the robustness of our implementations at an early stage,” said Dr. Axel Poschmann, Vice President of Product at PQShield. “Building on our original work with Riscure within the Keysight portfolio is exciting and we are looking forward to continuing this journey.”

The latest addition to Keysight Inspector is a notable expansion of the comprehensive platform that helps device and chip vendors identify and fix hardware vulnerabilities.

“We have observed incidents when the latest post-quantum encryption technology suffers from hardware-based threats. With this technology being implemented at a larger scale, the need for comprehensive testing becomes apparent,” said Marc Witteman, Director of the Device Security Research Lab at Keysight. “We are addressing this need by adding post-quantum algorithm testing capability to the Keysight Inspector solution, our comprehensive device security testing platform.”

Edited by Alex Passett
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