HSBC and PayPal join forces on Quantum-Safe Cryptography

The Emerging Payments Association Asia (EPAA) has announced the formation of a Work Group on Quantum-Safe Cryptography (WG-QSC) across ASEAN, with IBM, HSBC, AP+ and PayPal as founding members.

Quantum-Safe Cryptography

The group aims to study policy, regulation, and operator business processes to recommend steps toward implementing quantum-safe cryptography to enhance the protection of payment rails and processes in anticipation of advanced quantum computing that will be able to compromise existing cryptography.

Quantum computers are becoming more powerful, and as technology progresses, they could one day be used to break today’s encryption standards, such as RSA.

This means data considered secure today could soon become vulnerable should access to a cryptographically relevant quantum computer – a quantum computer powerful enough to break today’s encryption – fall into the wrong hands.

To prepare, it is critical for organisations to begin exploring the transition to post-quantum cryptography.

The work group intends to help define requirements, identify dependencies, use cases, and create a roadmap to implement post-quantum networking to mitigate the anticipated risks associated with future, cryptographically relevant quantum computers.

In a 2022 report, the World Economic Forum recently estimated that more than 20 billion digital devices will need to be either upgraded or replaced in the next 10-20 years to use the new forms of post-quantum encrypted communication.

“The goal of this work group is to bring together leading global financial services providers, as founding members, with experts from IBM, HSBC, AP+ and PayPal to collaborate as, or with, the business, operators, and ecosystem partners,” comments Camilla Bullock, EPAA CEO.

“Together, we aim to understand and implement post-quantum protocols, defining approaches to protect critical payments infrastructure, processes, customer data, and payment flows through agreed upon policies, enhancing resilience in future networks.”

To address the challenges presented by emerging quantum technology, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced in July 2022 that it had chosen the first four post-quantum cryptography algorithms to be standardised for cybersecurity in the quantum computing era — with plans to formally publish the standards this year.

These chosen algorithms rely on the computational difficulty of lattice- and hash-based mathematical problems.

Additionally, there are worldwide initiatives related to the construction of quantum key distribution networks whose security relies on the fundamental laws of quantum physics.

Post-quantum cryptography and QKD technologies aim to protect today’s systems and data from future cryptographically relevant quantum computers.


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