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Google recently released a hybrid key encapsulation mechanism (KEM). This should protect the sharing of symmetric encryption secrets while establishing secure TLS network connections. It should primarily be a defense mechanism against possible analysis from quantum computing environments. Google Chrome 116 gets the scoop.

A KEM is a way to establish a shared, secret value between two people. In this way, they are then able to communicate with each other using so-called symmetric key encryption. This is a prior action for securely exchanging information over a network. In this case over a TLS network connection.

Hybrid KEM for TLS

The hybrid KEM X25519Kyber768 now presented consists of two cryptographic algorithms. First, X25519, which is an “elliptic curve” algorithm currently used in the key agreement for establishing a secure TLS connection. The second part is Kyber-786, a quantum-resistant KEM. This particular KEM was identified as the best solution for post-quantum cryptography by NIST just last year.

Reason adaptation to quantum computing

The tech giant’s reason for adapting its encryption technology to possible quantum cryptanalysis is that it expects quantum computing can be used to break current encryption models in due course.

Google indicates that the sooner it is possible to update TLS connections with quantum-resistant session keys, the better network traffic can be protected against future quantum cryptanalysis.

Google is now putting dedicated encryption technology into Chromium. More specifically, the new hybrid KEM makes its appearance in Chrome version 116, which is coming out soon. In Chrome 115, the technology is available under a “flag.

Also read: Microsoft unveils its roadmap to a quantum supercomputer