Next-generation cryptography for embedded systems

The development of powerful quantum computers threatens the security of today's cryptographic methods: A sufficiently powerful and stable quantum computer will be able break many current encryption schemes. Alternative cryptographic methods that are secure against attacks also with quantum computers have been under investigation for several years. This field of research is called Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC). The new PQC methods emerging from this filed need to be tested for their applicability in real-world scenarios and integrated into existing infrastructures.

One disadvantage of many PQC schemes when compared to the encryption methods currently used is their generally higher requirement of resources: They require more computing power, more storage space or more network bandwidth for the transmission of keys or messages. This is a problem for embedded systems, as these systems often have low performance, but are frequently used in safety-critical areas, such as industrial plants, medical technology, telecommunications, or automotive control units.

Objective of the QuantumRISC project

The QuantumRISC project further develops and improves PQC methods to optimize them for low power consumption and low memory requirements while maintaining a high level of security. This allows PQC methods to meet the practical requirements of embedded systems. In a joint effort of academic and industrial partners, this project investigates in the application area "Automotive Engineering" the interaction of PQC schemes with existing vehicle systems and architectures as well as the feasibility to exchange of cryptographic processes (cryptographic agility) in a vehicle at a later point in time. Furthermore, the project partners ensure in coordination with associated partners from other industries that the results can be transferred to other application domains as well.

Project partners

  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Hochschule RheinMain
  • MTG AG
  • Elektrobit Automotive GmbH
  • Continental AG
  • Fraunhofer SIT