Scientists develop quantum-safe digital signatures: 20 times faster online transactions

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A team of researchers, including experts from Monash University, has made a breakthrough in digital security.

They have developed a new technique that makes online transactions both faster and safer.

This new method improves the speed of implementing quantum-safe digital signatures by an impressive twenty times.

The research, recently published in the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, marks a significant advancement.

It is the first to develop a much quicker way to implement Falcon, a post-quantum digital signature scheme, on graphic processing units (GPUs).

Associate Professor Ron Steinfeld, a quantum-safe cryptography expert from Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology, highlighted the importance of this research.

He mentioned that the world is moving toward quantum-safe computer systems, and Falcon is one of the leading digital signature schemes approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States.

“Falcon and other quantum-safe signature schemes are detailed and time-consuming to implement for GPUs,” said Associate Professor Steinfeld. “With this research, we have developed new techniques to efficiently implement Falcon on GPUs, making it 20 times faster than current state-of-the-art CPU implementations.”

Associate Professor Wai-Kong Lee from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first author of the research, emphasized the challenge of optimizing Falcon. “Falcon is particularly difficult to implement on GPUs due to its special signing process. This work is the first attempt to fill this research gap and aims to inspire more breakthroughs in implementing Falcon,” he said.

Digital signatures are essential for processing and authenticating all types of digital transactions worldwide. Dr. Raymond Zhao from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, pointed out the increasing need for quantum-safe computer networks to protect against future quantum computer attacks.

Dr. Zhao explained the growing demand for better-performing GPUs due to the rising use of computers in various activities, such as e-commerce, media consumption, and artificial intelligence. He provided an example with Alibaba, an e-commerce giant, which processes around 583,000 orders per second during peak times. Each transaction requires two signature verifications, meaning the system needs to handle up to 583,000 signature generations and 1,166,000 verifications per second. Handling this volume with only a CPU, even a powerful one, can be extremely challenging.

The accelerated generation of digital signatures will significantly impact all online transactions, particularly e-commerce and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. These areas require the processing of millions of digital signatures per second on the server side during peak times.

This groundbreaking research paves the way for faster and more secure online transactions, benefiting consumers and businesses alike. With the world moving towards quantum-safe systems, such innovations are crucial for safeguarding our digital future.

Source: Monash University.