Re: [Cfrg] Postquantum cryptography in IETF protocols

Watson Ladd <watsonbladd@gmail.com> Wed, 15 March 2017 02:38 UTC

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From: Watson Ladd <watsonbladd@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:38:31 -0700
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To: "Tams, Benjamin" <Benjamin.Tams@secunet.com>
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Subject: Re: [Cfrg] Postquantum cryptography in IETF protocols
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On Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 10:31 AM, Tams, Benjamin
<Benjamin.Tams@secunet.com> wrote:
> Hi John,
>
>> Good that CFRG starts some more detailed discussion on PQC. It makes sense
>> to support post-quantum key exchange for use cases that need long-term
>> confidentiality (15 years). For other use cases I think it can wait until
>> PQC key exchange algorithms has been thoroughly evaluated and
>> standardized. If implemented now, it should be used in addition to ECDHE,
>> just like Google has done with their experimental New Hope implementation.
>
> I absolutely agree with your view on the subject. Especially for those use
> cases where the attack scenario "collect today, decrypt tomorrow" is a threat,
> we should start thinking of PQ-safe key exchange methods in time. Even if
> they eventually turn out to be insecure; we can now combine them with
> classical key exchange algorithms. We have nothing to lose.
>
> There is already IETF work addressing PQ-security in Internet protocols, e.g.
> IKE and an Internet Draft for a Quantum-Safe Hybrid Ciphersuite for TLS
>
> https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-fluhrer-qr-ikev2-03
> https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-whyte-qsh-tls13-03
>
> On the other hand, there is (to my knowledge) no specification for a PQ-safe
> patent-free key exchange algorithm suitable for implementation. In fact, in
> https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-whyte-qsh-tls13-03
> only NTRUEncrypt is specified but is subject to patents.
>
> A possible first step is that CFRG creates an Internet Draft. In fact,
> the algorithm New Hope has already been implemented as a plugin for
> strongSwan (IPSec implementation for the Linux kernel)
>
> https://github.com/strongswan/strongswan/tree/master/src/libstrongswan/plugins/newhope
>
> So why do we not start with a draft for which the above implementation can
> serve as a reference implementation?

Why should we preempt the current NIST postquantum standardization efforts?
>
> Kind regards,
> Benjamin
>
>
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