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Google's Chrome Browser to Introduce Quantum-Resistant Encryption in Version 116, Enhancing Security TLS Security

 Google has revealed its intentions to incorporate support for encryption algorithms resistant to quantum attacks in its Chrome browser, starting with version 116.

In a recent announcement, Devon O'Brien mentioned, "Chrome will start endorsing X25519Kyber768 for establishing symmetric secrets in TLS, commencing with Chrome 116, and accessible behind a flag in Chrome 115."

Kyber was selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a potential candidate for comprehensive encryption, aiming to counteract future cyber threats posed by the rise of quantum computing. Kyber-768 holds security levels comparable to AES-192.

Numerous tech giants have already embraced the encryption algorithm, including Cloudflare, Amazon Web Services, and IBM.

X25519Kyber768 operates as a hybrid algorithm, amalgamating the outputs of X25519, a widely utilized elliptic curve algorithm for key agreement in TLS, and Kyber-768, resulting in a robust session key to encrypt TLS connections.

O'Brien elaborated, "Hybrid mechanisms like X25519Kyber768 offer the flexibility to introduce and evaluate new quantum-resistant algorithms while ensuring that connections remain safeguarded by established secure algorithms."

Although quantum computers are projected to pose substantial risks in the foreseeable future, it might take several years, possibly even decades. However, certain encryption methods are susceptible to "harvest now, decrypt later" attacks, where encrypted data collected today could be decrypted later using anticipated cryptographic advancements.

This vulnerability paves the way for quantum computers, which can efficiently execute certain computations that effortlessly undermine existing cryptographic implementations.

O'Brien clarified, "In TLS, although symmetric encryption algorithms protecting data in transit are deemed secure against quantum cryptanalysis, the creation of symmetric keys is not."

"Consequently, Chrome's early adoption of quantum-resistant session keys for TLS is aimed at safeguarding user network traffic from potential future quantum cryptanalysis."

For organizations encountering compatibility issues with network appliances post-rollout, Chrome recommends temporarily disabling X25519Kyber768 using the PostQuantumKeyAgreementEnabled enterprise policy, available starting from Chrome 116.

This development aligns with Google's shift from bi-weekly to weekly Chrome security updates, intended to narrow the attack window and address the growing patch gap dilemma, giving threat actors less time to exploit published n-day and zero-day vulnerabilities.

Furthermore, Google's commitment to security is evident in their move to enforce default key pinning in Chrome 106 for Android, introduced in September 2022, adding an additional layer of protection against certificate authority (CA) compromise.

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