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Apple Unveils PQ3 Protocol

has recently unveiled a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol named PQ3, which it plans to integrate into its iMessage platform. This move aims to secure the messaging service against future cyber attacks posed by the threat of a practical quantum computer.

The tech giant has described PQ3 as a “groundbreaking” and “state-of-the-art” protocol with the “strongest security properties” of any cryptographic protocol deployed at scale. With its compromise-resilient encryption and extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks, PQ3 is the first messaging protocol to reach what calls Level 3 security – providing protocol protections that surpass those of all other widely deployed messaging apps.

The protocol combines Kyber and Elliptic Curve cryptography (ECC) to achieve Level 3 security. This level of security is higher than that offered by Signal, which introduced its own PQXDH protocol that offers Level 2 security, establishing a PQC key for encryption.

This latest development by is a timely upgrade to the iMessage platform, which has already switched from RSA to ECC and currently protects encryption keys on devices with the Secure Enclave. The risk of compromised end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) communications arises from the potential future breakthrough in quantum computing, which could allow threat actors to conduct a harvest now and decrypt later (HNDL) attacks.

The PQ3 protocol is also designed to limit how many past and future messages can be decrypted with a single compromised key. Its key rotation scheme ensures that the keys are rotated every 50 messages at most and at least once every seven days.

's support for PQ3 is expected to roll out with the general availability of iOS 17.4, iPadOS 17.4, macOS 14.4, and watchOS 10.4, which will be released next month. This upgrade follows the company's decision to bring Rich Communication Services (RCS) to its Messages later this year, marking a significant shift from the non-secure SMS standard. has also committed to enhancing the security and encryption of RCS messages.

It is worth noting that while RCS does not implement E2EE by default, 's Messages for has already begun offering end-to-end encryption for RCS messages. Meanwhile, in July 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) chose Kyber as the post-quantum cryptographic algorithm for general encryption. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cloudflare, and have announced support for quantum-resistant encryption in their products.

Want to read more? Check out the original article available at The Hacker News!

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