Google last week announced an experiment with post-quantum cryptography in Chrome. A small fraction of connections between Google’s servers and Chrome on the desktop will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm already being used.
The idea is that large quantum computers — if and when they’re built — might be able to break current security algorithms retroactively, so it would be wise to develop algorithmic proof against such cracking efforts.
The experiment employs the New Hope algorithm, which Google considered the most promising post-quantum key-exchange among those it investigated last year. Its aim is to gain real-world experience with the larger data structures post-quantum algorithms likely will require.
Layering the post-quantum algorithm on top of the existing algorithm allows the experiment to proceed without affecting user security, Google said.
Google pledged to discontinue the experiment within two years, emphasizing that it did not want to establish its selected post-quantum algorithm as a de facto standard.