Innovation is Telsy’s pulsing core. This is what allows us to look back at history, to go beyond today’s boundaries, and project us towards the future.
Research and development in cryptography and Cybersecurity are Telsy’s real engine. Indeed, we constantly innovate our product lines and implemented technologies by introducing a smart perspective in developing products and processes meant to bring value to our partners. Telsy’s R&D team is engaged in the study of highly innovative and strategic topics – either crypto or cyber – and applies to national and European calls by constantly collaborating with prominent academic institutions in thesis writing, internships, and PhDs, as well as in the organization of scientific and general conferences and webinars.
Having long been considered a purely theoretical model, the quantum computer has been receiving increasing attention in the last decade, both in technological developments and in applications. In fact, if on the one hand the large-scale realization of a quantum computer will bring enormous benefits in several areas, on the other hand it will have a strong impact on cryptography and in general on secure communications as we know them today.
Most of the secure communications protocols, used today for example in electronic payments, in digital identity or in internet communications, base part of their security on a branch of cryptography called public-key or asymmetric cryptography. The security of public-key cryptography relies on mathematical problems and the assumption that such problems are difficult to solve but easy to verify. Informally this means that any algorithm designed for these problems would take an unreasonable amount of time to come up with a solution but, if given a solution, it would take little time to verify that it is valid.
There are numerous problems with these characteristics and some of them, such as the factorization problem and the discrete logarithm problem, underlie well-known cryptographic schemes such as RSA and Diffie-Hellman. Unfortunately, the problems we have mentioned, while difficult to solve for a classical computer, are not so difficult for a quantum computer. In fact, there are quantum algorithms that can easily solve these problems and which, once quantum computers are large enough, will be able to completely break the public-key cryptographic schemes used today.
The development and construction of the quantum computer thus constitute a serious threat to the world of security and it is therefore necessary to act quickly in the study and implementation of adequate countermeasures. To date, there are two branches of research that are actively involved in the development of alternative and resistant solutions to the quantum computer: Post-quantum Cryptography (PQC) and Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).
PQC is a mathematical response that attempts to identify new mathematical problems, not vulnerable to quantum algorithms, which can be used within public-key cryptographic schemes. In this field, the cryptographic community has been particularly active in the last decade and in particular since 2017 when the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) started a process for the definition and standardization of new quantum-resistant public-key cryptographic schemes.
QKD is instead a response of physics, which bases its security on the same principles of quantum mechanics that underlie quantum computers. The security promised by this technology is theoretically absolute, but its realization poses numerous challenges, particularly at the infrastructure level.
Telsy is committed and interested in developing both of these areas as we believe that the broad spectrum of use cases cannot be effectively covered by just one of them and that these technologies will therefore coexist. To this end, Telsy actively collaborates with numerous academic research groups, has funded an industrial PhD and coordinates a funded PhD within the UniversiTIM project on the topics of PQC and has a dedicated fiber optic infrastructure between its Turin laboratories and the Italian National Institute of Metrological Research (INRiM) for the realization of experiments on QKD.
Multi Party Computation
MPC (Multi Party Computation) is a cryptographic technique introduced in the 1970s, but has only recently made progress that allows for its concrete implementation. MPC allows two or more parties to jointly calculate the result of a function applied to values (inputs) provided by the parties, keeping these values confidential and without the need to involve a trusted external party. After obtaining the value of the function concerned, each party is unable to derive either the private inputs of the other parties or any information other than what it has learned. Likewise, even if an external attacker were to know the result obtained from the calculation of this function, it would not be able to obtain the private input values or other information.
However, in the event that there is no mutual trust between the participants, situations may also arise in which one or more parties try to make the calculation result incorrect, for example to gain personal advantage. The SMPC (Secure Multi Party Computation) guarantees, in addition to the privacy of the input data, the accuracy of the output obtained by each participant. In the event that one or more parties “cheat”, this behavior is discovered.
Telsy considers the MPC a research topic of extreme interest, both because of its current applications in numerous areas (e.g. cloud computing, electronic voting, online auctions, virtual HSM), and for those that will be feasible in the future; in fact, it is believed that the potential in this field is far from being fully understood. Telsy also sponsors a doctorate in mathematics, funded within the UniversiTIM project, at the University of Trento on the issues of the MPC.