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Friday, July 28, 2023

X9 unveils quantum-grade cryptography

Security analysts are discussing the newly updated framework for key management extensions, introduced July 25, 2023, by the Accredited Standards Committee X9 Inc. (X9). Designed to clarify procedures for generating and controlling keys used in symmetric cryptographic algorithms, the latest version of the X9.69 standard supports all key lengths and complies with HIPAA and GDPR, stated X9 editor Jay Wack, president and CEO of TecSec.

"This new version of X9.69 can be seen as offering an immediate solution to the threat of quantum, as well as an answer to the differential access to content necessary to support various laws and regulations around privacy in the United States and elsewhere," Wack said. "X9 is delivering a vital tool for establishing and maintaining the security and privacy of encrypted messaging."

He noted the X9.69 standard describes how to encrypt messages, combine two or more secret key components and attach a key usage vector to each generated symmetric key to harden security. These defined methods can be used together or separately, he added.

Shor's algorithm

Chief among X9.69 enhancements is its leveraging of Shor's Algorithm to thwart quantum computer attacks, a quantum computer algorithm developed in 1995 by U.S. mathematician Peter Shor, that can identify the prime factors of an integer, IBM Quantum noted, in Learn Quantum Computing: A Field Guide, published in 2016 and updated in 2023.

"Although any integer number has a unique decomposition into a product of primes, finding the prime factors is believed to be a hard problem," IBM researchers wrote. "In fact, the security of our online transactions rests on the assumption that factoring integers with a thousand or more digits is practically impossible. This assumption was challenged in 1995 when Peter Shor proposed a polynomial-time quantum algorithm for the factoring problem."

Even in 1995, IBM researchers noted, Shor's algorithm reflects how quantum computing changed public perception by demonstrating how swiftly quantum computing can break commercial-grade encryption schemes. In addition, they added, the National Security Administration will require owners and operators of national security systems to configure their systems with quantum-safe algorithms in 2025.

Modern-day approaches

Noting that the new X9.69 standard is immediately available, X9 urged key management stakeholders to use this updated version for ISO 20022 and QR code payment solutions and any structured and unstructured data.

X9 went on to say that the updated version protects data at the object level, operating independently of the transmission layer or storage choice. This provides persistent protection to data security across all enterprise configurations, the committee added, including cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. Additional information about the Accredited Standards Committee X9 Inc., and its recent updates to X9.69 standard, is available at www.x9.org .

Observing that quantum computing has unleashed a new era of innovation for security analysts and hackers alike, Mansour-Aaron Karimzadeh, co-founder, president and COO at Vality Corp., encouraged IT administrators to explore available options. His company's keyless authentication platform, for example, offers an alternative to cryptographic key management. "Our platform uses a software language that can't be reverse engineered because it's based on quantum randomness," he said. end of article

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