Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

European Initiatives

FP7 & H2020 Projects

  • Title: Post-quantum cryptography for long-term security

  • Programm: H2020

  • Duration: March 2015 - March 2018


  • Partners:

    • Academia Sinica (Taiwan)

    • Bundesdruckerei (Germany)

    • Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Denmark)

    • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)

    • NXP Semiconductors Belgium Nv (Belgium)

    • Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum (Germany)

    • Stichting Katholieke Universiteit (Netherlands)

    • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (Netherlands)

    • Technische Universitaet Darmstadt (Germany)

    • University of Haifa (Israel)

  • Inria contact: Nicolas Sendrier

  • Online banking, e-commerce, telemedicine, mobile communication, and cloud computing depend fundamentally on the security of the underlying cryptographic algorithms. Public-key algorithms are particularly crucial since they provide digital signatures and establish secure communication without requiring in-person meetings. Essentially all applications today are based on RSA or on the discrete-logarithm problem in finite fields or on elliptic curves. Cryptographers optimize parameter choices and implementation details for these systems and build protocols on top of these systems; cryptanalysts fine-tune attacks and establish exact security levels for these systems. Alternative systems are far less visible in research and unheard of in practice. It might seem that having three systems offers enough variation, but these systems are all broken as soon as large quantum computers are built. The EU and governments around the world are investing heavily in building quantum computers; society needs to be prepared for the consequences, including cryptanalytic attacks accelerated by these computers. Long-term confidential documents such as patient health-care records and state secrets have to guarantee security for many years, but information encrypted today using RSA or elliptic curves and stored until quantum computers are available will then be as easy to decipher as Enigma-encrypted messages are today. PQCRYPTO will allow users to switch to post-quantum cryptography: cryptographic systems that are not merely secure for today but that will also remain secure long-term against attacks by quantum computers. PQCRYPTO will design a portfolio of high-security post-quantum public-key systems, and will improve the speed of these systems, adapting to the different performance challenges of mobile devices, the cloud, and the Internet of Things. PQCRYPTO will provide efficient implementations of high-security post-quantum cryptography for a broad spectrum of real-world applications.

  • Title: Quantum Communications for ALL

  • Programm: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015

  • Duration: December 2016 - November 2020

  • Coordinator: University of Leeds (UK)

  • Other partners: see http://www.qcall-itn.eu/

  • Inria contact: Anthony Leverrier

  • QCALL is a European Innovative Training Network that endeavors to take the next necessary steps to bring the developing quantum technologies closer to the doorsteps of end users. QCALL will empower a nucleus of 15 doctoral researchers in this area to provide secure communications in the European continent and, in the long run, to its connections worldwide.

  • Title: QUASYModo Symmetric Cryptography in the Post-Quantum World

  • Program: ERC starting grant

  • Duration: September 2017 - August 2022

  • PI: María Naya Plasencia

  • As years go by, the existence of quantum computers becomes more tangible and the scientific community is already anticipating the enormous consequences of the induced breakthrough in computational power. Cryptology is one of the affected disciplines. Indeed, the current state-of-the-art asymmetric cryptography would become insecure, and we are actively searching for alternatives. Symmetric cryptography, essential for enabling secure communications, seems much less affected at first sight: its biggest known threat is Grover’s algorithm, which allows exhaustive key searches in the square root of the normal complexity. Thus, so far, it is believed that doubling key lengths suffices to maintain an equivalent security in the post- quantum world. The security of symmetric cryptography is completely based on cryptanalysis: we only gain confidence in the security of a symmetric primitive through extensive and continuous scrutiny. It is therefore not possible to determine whether a symmetric primitive might be secure or not in a post-quantum world without first understanding how a quantum adversary could attack it. Correctly evaluating the security of symmetric primitives in the post-quantum world cannot be done without a corresponding cryptanalysis toolbox, which neither exists nor has ever been studied. This is the big gap I have identified and that I plan to fill with this project. Next, doubling the key length is not a trivial task and needs to be carefully studied. My ultimate aim is to propose efficient solutions secure in the post-quantum world with the help of our previously obtained quantum symmetric cryptanalysis toolbox. This will help prevent the chaos that big quantum computers would generate: being ready in advance will definitely save a great amount of time and money, while protecting our current and future communications. The main challenge of QUASYModo is to redesign symmetric cryptography for the post-quantum world.

Collaborations in European Programs, Except FP7 & H2020

COST Action IC1306
  • Program: COST

  • Project acronym: ICT COST Action IC1306

  • Project title: Cryptography for Secure Digital Interaction

  • Duration: January 2014 - November 2017

  • Coordinator: Claudio Orlandi, Aarhus University, Denmark

  • Other partners: see http://www.cost.eu/domains_actions/ict/Actions/IC1306

  • Abstract: The aim of this COST action is to stimulate interaction between the different national efforts in order to develop new cryptographic solutions and to evaluate the security of deployed algorithms with applications to the secure digital interactions between citizens, companies and governments.

  • Anne Canteaut is co-leader of the working group on cryptographic primitives. She co-organized a 2-day workshop for PhD students and early-career researchers in symmetric cryptography, DISC 2016 (Bochum, Germany, March 23-24 2016) and a winter school dedicated to Symmetric Cryptography and Blockchain (Torremolinos, Spain, February 19-23, 2018). She also serves on the program committee of the CryptoAction Symposium organized every year.

  • Program: QuantERA ERA-NET Cofund in Quantum Technologies

  • Project acronym: QCDA

  • Project title: Quantum Code Design and Architecture

  • Duration: February 2018 - January 2021

  • Coordinator: Earl Campbell, University of Sheffield, UK

  • Other partners: University of Sheffield (UK), TU Delft (Netherlands), TU Munich (Germany), University College London (UK)

  • Abstract: General purpose quantum computers must follow a fault-tolerant design to prevent ubiquitous decoherence processes from corrupting computations. All approaches to fault-tolerance demand extra physical hardware to perform a quantum computation. Kitaev's surface, or toric, code is a popular idea that has captured the hearts and minds of many hardware developers, and has given many people hope that fault-tolerant quantum computation is a realistic prospect. Major industrial hardware developers include Google, IBM, and Intel. They are all currently working toward a fault-tolerant architecture based on the surface code. Unfortunately, however, detailed resource analysis points towards substantial hardware requirements using this approach, possibly millions of qubits for commercial applications. Therefore, improvements to fault-tolerant designs are a pressing near-future issue. This is particularly crucial since sufficient time is required for hardware developers to react and adjust course accordingly.

    This consortium will initiate a European co-ordinated approach to designing a new generation of codes and protocols for fault-tolerant quantum computation. The ultimate goal is the development of high-performance architectures for quantum computers that offer significant reductions in hardware requirements; hence accelerating the transition of quantum computing from academia to industry. Key directions developed to achieve these improvements include: the economies of scale offered by large blocks of logical qubits in high-rate codes; and the exploitation of continuous-variable degrees of freedom.

    The project further aims to build a European community addressing these architectural issues, so that a productive feedback cycle between theory and experiment can continue beyond the lifetime of the project itself. Practical protocols and recipes resulting from this project are anticipated to become part of the standard arsenal for building scalable quantum information processors.