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Toppan and NICT Enter Agreement for Joint Research on Post-Quantum Public Key Cryptography

Press release from the issuing company

Concept for joint research by Toppan and the NICT

Aiming to incorporate quantum-safe cryptography into quantum secure cloud technology and enable secure communication, storage, and use of data.

Tokyo – Toppan Printing (Toppan), a global leader in communication, security, packaging, décor materials, and electronics solutions, and Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have entered into an agreement to conduct joint research on bringing post-quantum public key cryptography to quantum secure cloud technology.

Quantum secure cloud technology fuses quantum cryptography and secret sharing technologies to facilitate secure data communication, storage, and use. The establishment of the technology will not only ensure a high level of security that makes tampering and decryption impossible, but also enable the collection, analysis, processing, and use of highly sensitive personal and corporate information accumulated in such fields as medical care, new materials, manufacturing, and finance.

Targeting expanded use of quantum secure cloud technology, Toppan and the NICT will bring together their respective technologies, insight, and experience to drive the application of post-quantum public key cryptography in wider society based on access authentication using smart cards equipped with such cryptosystems. The project will focus on secure data communication, storage, and use enabled by introducing this kind of access authentication to the Healthcare Long-term INtegrity and Confidentiality protection System (H-LINCOS)1 developed by the NICT and its collaborative partners.

Background

If quantum computing comes into use, it will be possible to decrypt public key cryptography currently used on the Internet. Significant progress has been made in quantum computing technology in recent years. Development and standardization of post-quantum public key cryptography technologies, which are expected to be difficult to crack even in the age of quantum computing, are being advanced in countries around the world.

Access control in H-LINCOS combines an authority matrix based on 26 types of official Japanese healthcare qualification with highly secure user authentication based on post-quantum public key cryptography. However, with the current system, healthcare professionals have to input ID numbers and passwords on dedicated healthcare system terminals. Based on the information, the terminals control access by verifying identity and cross-checking against a stored post-quantum digital certificate. Going forward, however, there is a need for access control and management that allows healthcare professionals to view the information they need in a way that is simple and secure without touching a terminal. Access control enabled by contactless biometric authentication combined with the reading of ID cards is one example of the kind of solution being targeted.

Details of the collaboration

Toppan and the NICT will leverage expertise in smart card security and authentication technology to drive the application of post-quantum public key cryptography and development of authentication systems to facilitate safe and secure management of digital information. The two organizations anticipate that establishing international standards for quantum secure cloud technology using quantum key distribution and post-quantum public key cryptography will provide an edge in technical development and ensure that it is beneficial for businesses. The research should contribute to a society in which highly sensitive information can be communicated, stored, and used securely in the future.

The project will focus specifically on introducing smart cards equipped with post-quantum public key cryptography to H-LINCOS and testing related authentication system technology. Toppan and the NICT will also upgrade post-quantum public key cryptography incorporated in quantum secure cloud technology to the latest version being standardized in the United States, and verify technology for secure communication, storage, and use of highly sensitive data. Application of post-quantum public key cryptography to smart cards and technical verification of authentication systems will begin in fiscal 2022, with targets for limited practical application in 2025 and the launch of services in 2030.

Roles of each organization

Toppan

Through the development and manufacture of smart cards, Toppan has accumulated a range of smart card security technologies, including encryption, authentication, and unauthorized access prevention. Leveraging this expertise, Toppan will work to contribute to the establishment of a safe and secure society in the age of quantum computing through support for the application of post-quantum public key cryptography to smart cards and the expanded use of quantum secure cloud technology, as well as the provision of services and solutions such as secure backup and data distribution for highly sensitive information. Specifically, Toppan will conduct verification of authentication technology based on the use of post-quantum public key cryptography-enabled smart cards for access to the secure cloud in H-LINCOS.

For more information about Toppan, visit https://www.toppan.com/en/ or follow Toppan on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/toppan-printing/

NICT

As part of “Photonics and Quantum Technology for Society 5.0,” the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) led by Japan’s Cabinet Office, the NICT is researching quantum secure cloud technology and has developed systems featuring quantum cryptography, secret sharing, and next-generation post-quantum public key infrastructure. The NICT will take advantage of this knowledge and experience to pursue the establishment of quantum secure cloud technology that incorporates elements of these systems as well as even more advanced computing engines and will also target the formulation of related international standards.

For more information about the NICT, visit https://www.nict.go.jp/en/

QUANTUM COMPUTING EXPO TOKYO [Spring]

Toppan will exhibit at the first QUANTUM COMPUTING EXPO TOKYO [Spring], which will be held at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center from April 7 to 9, 2021. The Toppan booth (6-12) will present details of the joint research with NICT as well as Toppan’s other efforts related to quantum computing.

For more information, visit https://www.qc-expo.jp/en-gb.html

1. Healthcare Long-term INtegrity and Confidentiality protection System (H-LINCOS)
A long-term secure data storage and exchange system for healthcare that uses secret sharing and secure communication technologies to enable backup and mutual use by medical institutions of digital medical record data with high levels of security and availability. A related press release from the NICT can be viewed at https://www.nict.go.jp/en/press/2019/12/12-1.html

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