Rambus Serves up Quantum-safe IP Solutions To Fend off Attacks

July 12, 2023 by Jake Hertz

The new Root of Trust IP from Rambus offers post-quantum cryptography hardware solutions.

With today’s world being significantly more data-driven and connected than ever before in history, the role of security has never been more important. Between ensuring the safety of personal information, communications, or intellectual property, security is at the forefront of any modern computing design.

But even as the industry is striving for improved security for modern-day computing, everything is going to change with the emergence of quantum computing. According to many, quantum computers are anticipated to pose a security threat of unprecedented proportions for future computing systems. To prevent this kind of future from happening, many in the industry are hard at work on new, post-quantum security solutions.

Quantum computers will be powerful enough to break public key-based cryptography.

Quantum computers will be powerful enough to break public key-based cryptography. Image used courtesy of Rambus


Today, Rambus announced the launch of a new family of quantum-safe security IP products to protect the future of data centers and communications. All About Circuits had the opportunity to Neeraj Paliwal, vice president and general manager of security for Rambus to learn more about the new launch firsthand. 


Cryptography on a High Level

When it comes to ensuring security in computer systems, cryptography is and has been the tool of choice for decades. 

On a high level, cryptographic algorithms work by encrypting data through the use of extremely complex mathematical functions. These one-way functions are extremely easy to compute in the forward direction (that is, encrypting data), but very difficult to compute in reverse (i.e., decrypting data) without knowledge of a secret key.


One-way functions are easy to compute in the forward direction, but impossible to compute backward.

One-way functions are easy to compute in the forward direction, but impossible to compute backward. Image used courtesy of CS Wiki


Generally, the security of an algorithm is defined by how difficult it would be for an adversary to break the algorithm via brute force: guessing every single combination until they get it right. The time required to brute force an algorithm is often calculated based on variables such as key length, computing power, and clock frequencies.


The Quantum Threat

Today, most cryptographic algorithms like public-key cryptography are computationally intractable to brute force. The problem, however, is that once quantum computers enter the industry, everything changes.

As quantum computers are anticipated to be exceptionally more powerful than existing computers, the definition of “computationally intractable” completely changes. As Paliwal explains “Cracking your password, using asymmetric crypto, or guessing keys may take thousand years in traditional computers, but in the quantum computer era this isn’t the case. With quantum computers, you can get to the secret in a matter of maybe ten minutes or an hour.”

To solve this issue, researchers and cryptographers have spent significant effort in the development of post-quantum cryptography (QPC). Implementing these QPC solutions requires dedicated hardware that is designed explicitly to run these algorithms.


Rambus’ Newest Solution

Today, Rambus is answering this call with the launch of a new set of quantum-safe IP solutions.

Within this, the launch is highlighted by Rambus’ new programmable hardware Root-of-Trust solution. Describing the solution, Paliwal says “We need new algorithms to encrypt, decrypt, and safeguard against quantum attacks. To solve this, we are launching a root-of-trust solution that protects data and devices with quantum-resistant algorithms.”


A deeper look at the quantum-safe root-of-trust.

A deeper look at the quantum-safe root-of-trust. Image used courtesy of Rambus


Looking deeper at the solution, Rambus tells us that it consists of a number of major blocks. Amongst these includes a 32-bit secure RISC-V processor, a quantum-safe engine for computing PQC algorithms such as CRYSTALS-Kyber, a classic crypto accelerator for traditional algorithms, and other features such as a true random number generator (TRNG) and physically unclonable function (PUF). 

With this new solution, Rambus hopes to provide a safe security solution to future-proof next-generation data centers and communication systems.