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Quantum computers may well become a reality during the next decades. Current common digital signature schemes (RSA, DSA and ECDSA) are not quantum-resistant. Hash-based signatures are a quantum-safe alternative.

Initiated in 2014, the goal of the German 3-year research project Quantencomputer-resistente Signaturverfahren für die Praxis aka squareUP is to foster the practical use of hash-based signatures, a category of post-quantum digital signatures. The existing theoretical foundations of hash-based signatures will be completed by:

  • An investigation and possible solutions for concrete issues, such as the handling of statefulness (key indexes must be tracked) and PKI integration;
  • An implementation of hash-based signatures in an industrial software update system;
  • Proof-of-concept integration in common security protocols such as TLS, SSH and S/MIME;
  • Integration in open-source cryptographic libraries;
  • Parameter recommendations for different application use cases;
  • An analysis of side-channel resistance.

The project members, genua and TU Darmstadt, are presented here; see also the contact information. An introduction to post-quantum cryptography and hash-based signatures is available. Details about the project steps can be found here.

Funding for this project is granted by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology (StMWi) and by the German Research Foundation (DFG).