QuantumLock Overview
Introduction
Secret Server's quantumlock is a feature that provides an additional security layer by protecting secret data using asymmetric encryption (a public/private key pair) where the private key is a humangenerated password. This feature is independent of regular permissions, Secret Server login access, or physical access to the machine running Secret Server.
A shortcut way of thinking about quantumlocks is as an extra password for secrets that is held by a set group of users. In addition, both the password and the group of users are reusable for other secrets. In addition, quatumlocks futureproof our digital security infrastructure against the advancing capabilities of quantum computing.
Quantumlock is an upgrade of the earlier DoubleLock feature. Besides the name change, the difference is quantumlock offers the option to use a quantumsafe algorithm for encapsulation to protect the private key, specifically CRYSTALS Kyber1024, which is designed to counter the potential threat from quantum computers to current encryption methods. That threat is closer than you might think—"harvest now, decrypt later" attacks steal encrypted data now for later decryption by quantum computers.
Today's asymmetrickey encapsulation methods, such as RSA (RivestShamirAdleman) and ECC (Elliptic Curve Cryptography), rely on the difficulty of solving mathematical problems, such as factoring large numbers or solving discrete logarithms, with classical computers. However, quantum computers, which operate on principles of quantum mechanics, could solve these problems much faster, rendering these encapsulation methods vulnerable.
Quantumsafe or postquantum (PQ) algorithms are cryptographic methods that are believed to be secure against quantum computer attacks. They are based on mathematical problems that are considered difficult for both classical and quantum computers to solve, ensuring the security of encapsulated keys, even in the era of quantum computing. PQ algorithm types include latticebased cryptography, hashbased cryptography, codebased cryptography, and multivariate polynomial cryptography, among others.
The PQ cryptographic algorithm Kyber1024 is specifically designed for keyencapsulation mechanisms (KEM), a process where a key is encapsulated (encrypted ) with a public key, sent over an insecure channel, and then decrypted with a private key. Typically a symmetric key algorithm, such as AES256 (Advanced Encryption Standard) , is used for encrypting the message content itself because symmetrickey algorithms are faster and more efficient for large amounts of data than asymmetrickey algorithms. Algorithms like AES are examples of symmetric cryptography.
Comparing RSA2048 to Kyber1024
QuantumLock without the quantumlock feature enabled is essentially the same as its predecessor, DoubleLock, and relies on RSA2048 for key encapsulation.
Comparing the encryption, decryption, and keygeneration speeds of RSA2048 and Kyber1024 involves understanding the efficiency of these algorithms under practical implementations. The specific speeds can vary based on the software and hardware used for the implementation, but here is a general overview based on their cryptographic principles and typical use cases.
RSA2048

Key Generation: RSA2048 key generation is relatively slow because it involves finding two large prime numbers and calculating their product along with other related mathematical operations. This process is computationally intensive.

Encapsulation: RSA2048 encryption is faster than its key generation. However, compared to Kyber1024, RSA2048 encryption is usually slower because it involves modular exponentiation, which is a heavy operation especially for large key sizes like 2048 bits.

Decapsulation: RSA2048 decryption is also computationally intensive, similar to encryption, because it requires modular exponentiation. RSA decryption is generally slower than encryption due to the nature of the private key operations.
Kyber1024

Key Generation: Kyber1024 generally has faster key generation than RSA2048. This efficiency comes from its use of latticebased cryptography, which involves operations on vectors and matrices that are more efficient than the prime number operations in RSA.

Encapsulation: Kyber1024 is designed for fast encryption operations. It uses simple arithmetic operations on small integers, making it very efficient and faster than RSA2048 encryption.

Decapsulation: Like its encryption, Kyber1024 decryption is also fast and efficient. The algorithm benefits from the same latticebased operations, optimized for quick decryption times.
Summary

RSA2048 is generally slower across all three operations compared to Kyber1024. The difference in speed is primarily due to RSA's reliance on large prime numbers and modular arithmetic, which are computationally heavier, especially as key sizes increase to improve security.

Kyber1024, being a postquantum algorithm designed with efficiency in mind, uses latticebased cryptography that allows for quicker key generation, encryption, and decryption operations. This makes it particularly suitable for environments where speed and efficiency are critical.
When to Use QuantumLock
Both Kyber1024 and RSA2048 QuantumLocks
Enabling quantumlock (or the earlier doublelock) on any secret only grants users access if they have access to the quantumlock and enter their quantumlock password. Enabling quantumlock disables the RPC features for the secret. It also prevents heartbeat. Thus, quantumlock should not be used for secrets that require a password rotation or heartbeat check.
QuantumLock use cases include:

Global admin passwords

Root account passwords

Bank account passwords

PINs, Social Security numbers, or other personal information.
When users protect secrets with quantumlock, only that user has access to the secret. If multiple users are in a group, members have access to the secret, but each will have their own unique quantumlock.
Kyber1024 QuantumLocks
Enabling the PQ feature of QuantumLock depends on your circumstances. NIST believes quantum computers could break current public key encryption as early as 2025 or as late as 2030. It might be wise to apply it sooner rather than later for longterm data and devices. However, Kyber1024 is not yet an industry standard, and RSA2048 is currently uncrackable.