Endpoint

4/13/2018
02:44 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cisco, ISARA to Test Hybrid Classic, Quantum-Safe Digital Certificates

Goal is to make it easier for organizations to handle the migration to quantum computing when it becomes available.

Cisco Systems and security firm ISARA are collaborating in an initiative to test digital certificates capable of working on conventional public key cryptography, as well as quantum computing environments.

The goal is to demonstrate how a single digital certificate supporting multiple public key algorithms can help reduce costs and the risks associated with migrating the public key infrastructure to quantum mode.

The need for such measures stems ironically enough from the power of quantum computing, which while having the potential to enable a new generation of applications also has the ability to overcome current encryption schemes.

"Quantum computing allows us to efficiently solve the hard math problems underlying the public key cryptography we rely upon today for Internet banking, connecting to work remotely, and doing ecommerce," says Mike Brown, CTO of ISARA. That fact necessitates new approaches to public key cryptography, he says.

Quantum computers are designed to harness the behavior of atoms and subatomic particles to handle computationally intensive applications — in areas like medicine — that are well beyond the capabilities of current generation computers.

Traditional crypto certificates that are used to authenticate digital transactions and IDs are not secure enough to authenticate transactions in a quantum environment. So at least for the duration of the migration from traditional computers to quantum computing, digital certificates will need to be equipped to support both computing environments.

"As a technology industry, we have been extremely successful at making the use of cryptography nearly ubiquitous," Brown says. So successful in fact that cryptography has become integral to the plumbing of the Internet, he says.

"So that means migrating cryptography, and specifically authentication tools, will involve changes to nearly everything. For a company, this will be a multi-year IT project with all of the associated complexity."

The approach in which Cisco and ISARA are collaborating is to use dual-algorithm certificates, where one algorithm works to protect quantum transactions while the other maintains backwards compatibility with traditional environments.

To demonstrate the viability of the approach Cisco and ISARA have set up a public server that uses the so-called PQ hybrid X.509 certificates (PQ for Post-Quantum) to authenticate to transport layer security clients.

"We use authentication to ensure that it was 'you' making that bill payment through your bank account online and that the amounts haven’t been tampered with," Brown says. "Quantum-safe authentication is a way to accomplish that using mathematics that quantum computers can’t solve."

Under the collaborative effort, ISARA is bringing its expertise in quantum-safe cryptography and PKI to work with Cisco and its Enrollment over Secure Transport (EST) system for issuing backwards-compatible hybrid systems.

"The collaboration between Cisco and ISARA began with a focus on the use of a particular quantum-safe authentication scheme called LMS or Leighton-Micali Signatures," Brown says. "The next phase will introduce support for additional algorithms."

Related Content:

Interop ITX 2018

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop ITX. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the security track here. Register with Promo Code DR200 and save $200.

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
High Stress Levels Impacting CISOs Physically, Mentally
Jai Vijayan, Freelance writer,  2/14/2019
Valentine's Emails Laced with Gandcrab Ransomware
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/14/2019
Making the Case for a Cybersecurity Moon Shot
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  2/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-8980
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
A memory leak in the kernel_read_file function in fs/exec.c in the Linux kernel through 4.20.11 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) by triggering vfs_read failures.
CVE-2019-8979
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
Koseven through 3.3.9, and Kohana through 3.3.6, has SQL Injection when the order_by() parameter can be controlled.
CVE-2013-7469
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
Seafile through 6.2.11 always uses the same Initialization Vector (IV) with Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) Mode to encrypt private data, making it easier to conduct chosen-plaintext attacks or dictionary attacks.
CVE-2018-20146
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
An issue was discovered in Liquidware ProfileUnity before 6.8.0 with Liquidware FlexApp before 6.8.0. A local user could obtain administrator rights, as demonstrated by use of PowerShell.
CVE-2019-5727
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
Splunk Web in Splunk Enterprise 6.5.x before 6.5.5, 6.4.x before 6.4.9, 6.3.x before 6.3.12, 6.2.x before 6.2.14, 6.1.x before 6.1.14, and 6.0.x before 6.0.15 and Splunk Light before 6.6.0 has Persistent XSS, aka SPL-138827.