Google is testing out new quantum-proof cryptography that could secure its Chrome browser and internet communications.
According to the publication PC World, the encryption methods used to secure Internet communications could easily be cracked by more powerful quantum computers under development today. For this reason, Google is designing and testing out new cryptography methods that quantum computers will not be able to break.
On Thursday, Matt Braithwaite, a Google software engineer, wrote in a company blog post that the quantum computers' processing power could be enough to decrypt any internet communication. This could also affect the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol used by internet browsers such as Google Chrome when visiting websites. Braithwaite added that this could suddenly expose data originally meant to be secured for decades.
The quantum computers available today are still in an experimental stage. However the tech industry is moving closer to make them more powerful and a mainstream reality.
Quantum computers use qubits of information that can be simultaneously 0 and 1. They represent a leap over current computers that use data represented as 0s and 1s. Information structured in qubits allows quantum computers to run far more efficiently.
Google is taking measures to prepare in advance for the security risks posed by quantum computers, regardless when they will become mainstream. In order to quantum-proof today's Internet communications, the search giant will test "post-quantum cryptography" using its browser Chrome Canary. The encryption tested will be used on top of Google's current encryption algorithm and will only cover a small fraction of the connections between the browser and company's servers.
A cryptography algorithm called "New Hope" will be used by Google for the purposes of this test. The test will only last two years. The search engine giant hopes to be able in the future to replace the algorithm with something better.
According to PC Mag, Chrome Canary's users can verify if the post-quantum algorithm is in use by looking for "CECPQ1" in the key exchange within the browser's security panel.