Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Protection from attacks by quantum computers: DFKI starts project for long-term encryption of medical data


Since Google announced its alleged “quantum supremacy”, they have become a hot topic once again: The expected efficacy of future quantum computers presents a great risk towards data security. This means that for the protection of long-term sensible information such as medical data, an effective post-quantum cryptography already needs to be developed and prepared for deployment. In a new project titled “PQC4MED”, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and its partners work on procedures in order to protect medical data from attacks by quantum computers via updateable systems.

They are rumoured to be the basis for the next big step in digitalization: The enormous computing power of quantum computers allows them to process calculations that push the boundaries even of supercomputers. The potential capabilities of quantum computing (QC) pose a great danger for data security: According to current insights, most cryptographic methods used nowadays will become unsafe after the introduction of high-performance quantum computers. Therefore, it is already necessary to develop methods for post-quantum cryptography (PQC) that can withstand attacks by quantum computers. Especially for areas and systems with high demands for long-term security and durability, which often cannot be replaced on short notice, these PQC procedures are of utmost importance.

Visualization for the project PQC4MED

Venusvi -

Medical technology is one of these areas: While patient data requires a particularly high level of protection, the medical devices that record and process this data are designed for long-term usage due to their complexity and acquisition costs. For this reason, the Cyber-Physical Systems research group of the DFKI led by Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler and several partners have started the project “PCQ-Technologies for the Data Protection in Medical Care in Germany (PQC4MED”. The aim is to develop new long-term update mechanisms, guaranteeing that medical devices can be equipped with the most current cryptographic methods and are thus protected from quantum computers on the long run.

Crypto-agility for long-term data security

The ability of devices to update their encryption is called crypto-agility. This capacity for updates is an important criterion especially for embedded systems, as their exchange is more cost-intensive and, due to their different components, riskier in comparison to individual computer systems. For this reason, the project “PQC4MED” involves creating an update platform for embedded system in medical technology that allows crypto-agility both on a hardware and software level and thus enables the future deployment of QC resistant algorithms.

An important part in this QC resistance is the secure element (SE), a chip that guarantees the protection of processed data in a device and therefore plays a vital role during a possible attack by a quantum computer. For this reason, the project includes the development of a secure element that can be updated with new encryption methods. This work is based upon cryptographic standards that are currently being determined regarding their resistance against quantum computing. But also medical devices that are already in use are meant to be made crypto-agile via new updating methods. This would make the exchange of secure elements avoidable.

Strong consortium from science and business

The “PQC4MED” project consortium brings together expert knowledge of IT security from both the scientific and the business side: Apart from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the consortium consists of Wibu-Systems AG, Infineon Technologies AG, Schölly Fiberoptic GmbH, macio GmbH, the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science (ITI) of the KIT as well as the Institute for IT Security of the University of Luebeck. The consortium had applied for the research program of the German federal government for IT security titled “Self-reliant and safe in the digital world 2015 to 2020”.

The project “PQC4MED” is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Science (BMBF) with roughly 690 000 Euros. The runtime amounts to 36 months; the completion of the project is set for 31 October 2022. Until then, the determination of standards for PQC methods that can be deployed via the update platform is also expected.

Under you can find a photo ready for download. This photo can be used in connection with reporting on the project naming the source “Venusvi - stock.adobe”.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tim Erhan Güneysu
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Cyber-Physical Systems
Phone: +49 234 24626

Press contact:
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Corporate Communications
Phone: +49 421 178 45 4180

Jens Peter Kückens | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Predictive touch response mechanism is a step toward a tactile internet
24.01.2020 | The Optical Society

nachricht The easy route the easy way: New chip calculates the shortest distance in an instant
23.01.2020 | Tokyo University of Science

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

Latest News

Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Engineered capillaries model traffic in tiny blood vessels

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>