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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Post-Quantum Crypto

 Will Quantum be able to cut through Crypto?   Effects on other solution expectations?

The Scramble for Post-Quantum Cryptography

By Samuel Greengard,  Commissioned by CACM Staff,  February 4, 2021

Researchers are working to counter the threat to current communications posed by the nascent quantum computing arena, which could undermine almost all of the encryption protocols used today.

History has demonstrated that where there are people, there are secrets. From elaborately coded messages on paper to today's sophisticated cryptographic algorithms, a desire to maintain privacy has persisted. Of course, as technology has advanced, the ability to cipher messages but also crack the codes has grown.

"Today's encryption methods are excellent, but we are reaching an inflection point," says Chris Peikert, an associate professor in the Department of Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. "The introduction of quantum computing changes the equation completely. In principle, these devices could break any reasonably-sized public key."

Such an event would wreak havoc. "It would affect nearly everything we do with computers," says Dustin Moody, a mathematician whose focus at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) includes computer security. Within this scenario, he says, computing subsystems, virtual private networks (VPNs), and digital signatures would no longer be secure. As a result, personal data, corporate records, intellectual property, and online transactions would all be at risk.

Consequently, cryptographers are developing new encryption standards that would be resistant to the brute force power of quantum computing. At the center of this effort is an initiative at NIST to identify both lattice-based and code-based algorithms that could protect classical computing systems but also introduce new and more advanced capabilities.  ... '

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