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German Federal Printing Office, Fraunhofer, Infineon showcase PQC-compliant ID technology

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

November 30, 2022

2 Min Read
A businesswoman holds a passport and boarding pass
German researchers have developed PQC-compliant passport technology.Getty

The advent of practical quantum computing risks cracking even the most secure encryption technology that keeps sensitive data secure in the next few years. Electronic personal identification data, including biometric information and electronic passports, risk identity theft if compromised.

A group of researchers from German organizations is presenting new, quantum-secure encryption methods specifically designed to store biometric data at the Trustech payment and identification solutions event taking place this week.

Semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies, the German Federal Printing Office (Bundesdruckerei) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC) have developed a world-first demonstrator for an electronic passport that meets the security requirements of post-quantum cryptography (PQC).

It uses an Infineon security controller that protects data from both conventional attacks and attacks that use quantum computers.

“Today we are launching the encryption procedures which will be needed to repel quantum computer attacks of tomorrow,” said Infineon vice president and head of identity solutions Maurizio Skerlj.

“Working together with our collaboration partners at the German Federal Printing Office and Fraunhofer AISEC, we have succeeded in efficiently implementing quantum-resistant encryption procedures and making them available for use in practice.”

The demonstrator uses a quantum computer-resistant version of the Extended Access Control protocol that enables electronic passport holders to travel smoothly across national borders. It protects the contactless data transfer between the electronic passport and the border checkpoint terminal and secures the biometric data captured during authentication.

“Our solution shows how durable ID documents can be protected from attacks by quantum computers while at the same time compatibility with existing systems is preserved,” said Bundesdruckerei chief visionary officer Manfred Paeschke.

Fraunhofer AISEC professor Marian Margraf added: “The core of our demonstrator uses the cryptographic methods Dilithium and Kyber, which the U.S. national standardization institute NIST selected in July 2022 after a worldwide competition for post-quantum cryptography. Based on that, we developed protocols for the passport that were then subjected to a further independent security evaluation.”

The security methods tested in the project work with current technology and can incorporate quantum-resistant encryption when needed. The development process incorporated international standards so that the solution could be implemented worldwide.

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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