Integrating post-quantum crypto into real-life applications

Integrating post-quantum crypto into real-life applications – Christian Paquin


Quantum computers pose a grave threat to the public-key cryptography we use today. Many quantum-safe alternatives have been proposed to alleviate this problem. None of these, however, provide a perfect replacement for our conventional algorithms. Indeed, they either result in increased bandwidth, bigger keys, and/or slower runtime, thus greatly impacting their integration into crypto applications.

In this talk, I’ll give an overview of the emerging post-quantum cryptography (PQC) schemes. I’ll then present the lessons we have learned from our prototype integrations into real-life protocols and applications (such as TLS, SSH, and VPN), and our experiments on a variety of devices, ranging from IoT devices, to cloud servers, to HSMs. I’ll discuss the Open Quantum Safe project for PQC development, and related open-source forks of OpenSSL, OpenSSH, and OpenVPN that can be used to experiment with PQC today. I’ll present a demo of a full (key exchange + authentication) PQC TLS 1.3 connection.

This work sheds lights on the practicality of PQC, encouraging early adoption and experimentation by the security community.


I am a crypto specialist in MSR’s Security and Cryptography team [1]. I’m currently involved in projects related to post-quantum cryptography, such as the Open Quantum Safe project [2], and leading the development of the U-Prove technology [3]. I’m also interested in privacy-enhancing technologies, smart cloud encryption (e.g., searchable and homomorphic encryption), and the intersection of AI and security.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2008, I was the Chief Security Engineer at Credentica, a crypto developer at Silanis Technology working on digital signature systems, and a security engineer at Zero-Knowledge Systems working on TOR-like systems.