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Google protects Chrome against quantum hacking before it can even happen

Current internet encryption methods would have no way to stand up to quantum computers. Luckily, Google's working on it.

James Martin

Worried about quantum computers accessing your precious, precious encrypted data? Well, you're probably not worried about that yet, but Google wants to make sure you never will be.

The search giant is working on post-quantum encryption for its Chrome internet browser, it announced today in a blog post from software engineer Matt Braithwaite.

Quantum computers, while still only in their infancy, use advanced aspects of quantum physics to solve problems exponentially faster than today's binary computers. That means that modern encryption, like the current internet go-to of HTTPS, wouldn't stand up to quantum attacks.

Quantum computers are still extremely experimental today, and there's no guarantee that a large quantum computer capable of that kind of attack will ever be built. The issue is that even a hypothetical quantum computer could "retrospectively decrypt any internet communication that was recorded today...thus even the possibility of a future quantum computer is something that we should be thinking about today," wrote Braithwaite.

Enter Google's post-quantum cryptography. Rolled out over a small number of connections between Chrome and Google's servers already, the new style of encryption key is being tested alongside current security measures. If the key is successful, Google says, it should stand up to future quantum computers.