Cryptography is vital to cybersecurity. Security attributes such as confidentiality, integrity, authenticity and non-repudiation rely on powerful cryptographic mechanisms, especially in an always connected world.
In addition, cryptography applications offer new opportunities and markets: digital signatures or online transactions would not be possible without it. Given its importance, cryptography remains a key area of research and refers to high-level documents and legislation.
One such document is the new Cyber Security Strategy of the European Union (December 2020), which mentions quantum computing and cryptography as key techniques for technological sovereignty and leadership.
In order to support the implementation of the cybersecurity strategy and related legislation, ENISA has published two reports on cryptography. The first focuses on the upcoming disruptions of post-quantum computing in the existing cybersecurity infrastructure and how they should be mitigated.
The second report introduces the cryptographic building blocks used in the majority of digital currencies and cryptocurrencies, which fall within the scope of the new European regulatory proposal.
Quantum technology will lead to a huge leap forward for many branches of industry, as it can effectively solve problems that current technologies cannot. However, this technology will bring about radical disruptions in existing security equipment and systems.
Experts agree that quantum computers will be able to crack the widespread public-key cryptography regime. Programs such as data protection from third-party tracking, even digital signatures and processes protected from them, such as banking, software updates, digitally-signed official documents, patient records, and more, will immediately cease to be secure.
The transition to new cryptographic algorithms that will be quantum robust takes years, as the relevant processes are extremely complex and costly.
The ENISA report provides an overview of the current progress of the post-quantum cryptography (PQC) standardization process, introducing a framework for analyzing existing quantum-secure solutions, classifying them into families and discussing their advantages and disadvantages.
The study aims to help decision makers and system designers take appropriate action as soon as possible.
By creating a pan-European blockchain regulatory framework, the European Union intends to test blockchain technologies, on which digital assets such as cryptocurrencies are based.
The report aims to further increase the understanding around the underlying cryptographic elements that make up the blockchain and consequently the cryptographic elements, digital currencies and the number of its applications.
Source: Digital Security Authority
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