Episode 1: Post-Quantum TLS With KEMs Instead of Signatures!


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TLS 1.3 has been widely praised as a major upgrade to the Transport Layer Security protocol responsible for securing the majority of Web traffic. But one area in which TLS 1.3 seems to be lacking is its potential for resistance to attacks that utilize quantum computing – computers that, theoretically, could factor the products of large primes and solve the discrete logarithm problem in relatively short periods of time, significantly affecting the security of TLS 1.3.

Today however, we’re discussing an interesting new paper, to be published at this year’s ACM CCS, which introduces KEMTLS: a modified version of TLS 1.3 that uses Key Encapsulation Mechanisms, or KEMs, instead of signatures for server authentication, thereby providing a sort of “post-quantum TLS”.

But what even are KEMs? Are quantum computers even a thing that we should be worried about? On the first ever episode of Cryptography FM, we’ll be hosting Dr. Douglas Stebila and PhD Candidate Thom Wiggers to discuss these questions and more.

Dr. Douglas Stebila is an Associate Professor of cryptography in the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. His research focuses on improving the security of key exchange protocols and Internet cryptography protocols such as TLS and SSH, including the development of quantum-resistant solutions. His previous work on the integration of elliptic curve cryptography in TLS has been deployed on hundreds of millions of web browsers and servers worldwide.

Thom Wiggers is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Computing and Information Sciences at Radboud University in The Netherlands. He is working on the interactions of post-quantum cryptography with protocols, under the supervision of Dr. Peter Schwabe, who is also a co-author of the research work that we’re going to discuss today.

Links to discussed papers:

Music composed by Toby Fox and performed by Sean Schafianski.

Special Guests: Douglas Stebila and Thom Wiggers.

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12 episodes