A new chip to fight off hacker attacks using quantum computers

A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has designed and assigned the production of a computer chip that could protect from cyber-attacks using quantum computers. The researchers integrated hardware Trojans in the chip for detecting types of malware from the chip factory.


To prohibit attackers from stealing information from the factory, the communication between the chips in the individual components is encrypted. The conventional processes that can fight off attacks initiated with today’s computer technologies will be defenseless against quantum computers. This is especially critical for equipment with a long lifespan such as industrial facilities.


“Ours is the first chip for post-quantum cryptography to be based entirely on a hardware/software co-design approach,” says Prof. Sigl.”As a result, it is around 10 times as fast when encrypting with Kyber—one of the most promising candidates for post-quantum cryptography—as compared to chips based entirely on software solutions. It also uses around eight times less energy and is almost as flexible.”


The latest chip is an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). This type of specialized microcontroller is frequently produced in huge quantities according to the specifications of companies. The design also combines a purpose-designed hardware accelerator that supports lattice-based post-quantum cryptography algorithms such as Kyber and also the SIKE algorithm, which expects more computing power. 

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