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How Apple’s Quantum-Resistant Tech Can Strengthen Crypto Wallet Security

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James
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In Brief

  • Apple claims its new technology can resist novel attacks by quantum computers by creating new keys when old ones are compromised.
  • According to Apple, the new PQ3 technology creates a fresh key in a way that can't be replicated when another key is compromised.
  • It could be some time before Apple makes this technology available, as it initially only integrated it with its own iMessage app.
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Apple claims its new PQ3 technology could protect encryption keys that have been compromised. These keys govern access to sensitive data like crypto wallet passwords.

Apple has released a new quantum-resistant technology that could make iPhones cold wallets.

Apple Prepares for Quantum Onslaught

The technology applied initially in iMessage replaces compromised keys with new keys that cannot be computed using previous ones. Therefore, it is impossible for one known key to expose all messages in a conversation. Apple claims its new technology is quantum-resistant.

Quantum computers can solve problems that have defeated traditional computers. Tasks like exposing data secured by RSA or Elliptic Curve cryptography can be viable for quantum computers. So far, no quantum computers can do this on a commercial scale.

But that might change that soon. Last year, IBM launched ten practical quantum computing projects that have the potential to crack traditional encryption methods. These can expose private crypto keys that could reside on a device like an iPhone. A 2023 scientific report in Nature confirmed that quantum progress can pose new threats to blockchain infrastructure.

Read more: What is a Private Key in Crypto?

“The advent of quantum computing constitutes a new paradigm in which digital technologies will endure both challenges and opportunities. Threats will come up in a variety of forms, especially when robust quantum computers will be able to break several important cryptographic algorithms currently used. Blockchain, as a
technology that strongly relies on cryptography, is not safe from these threats,” said Marcos Allende, et al.

wallet key apple
Public Key Cryptography | Source: Dynamic

The computing giant finally found a way to stabilize the data storage elements called qubits. This breakthrough paved the way for a new set of algorithms that take a fundamentally different approach to solving puzzles than computers that operate on ones and zeros.

How Apple’s Tech Could Boost Wallet Security

Apple’s secure enclave offers crypto wallet vendors the best of both worlds. Like hardware wallets that store private keys offline, the secure enclave isolates critical data from an app’s operation. This isolation can protect keys for crypto wallet apps from compromised app operations.

At least two non-custodial wallet apps use the secure enclave, MEW Wallet and BRD. MEW uses the enclave for two security operations that grant access to their software. Apple’s facial biometric system, FaceID, unlocks the first key and gives access to a second key that unlocks the wallet.

However, Apple has not yet made the latest quantum-resistant technology available to app developers. BeInCrypto contacted Apple to discover its plans to launch the quantum-resistant cryptography to developers.

Read more: 9 Crypto Wallet Security Tips To Safeguard Your Assets

The tech firm had not responded by press time but has integrated it into the developer previews of iOS 17.4. The Cupertino firm has also incorporated PQ3 into the final release of iOS 17.4.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...