"It's important to get ahead of the curve because it's going to be a very long transition, since we're talking about the entirety of software that encrypts or signs. It will take years before everyone has made the transition. On the other hand, the most important threat at the moment consists in retaining the information that passes through today in order to decrypt it quickly when we have a quantum computer"
A race is on between the developers of quantum computers and cryptographers who are seeking to ensure the confidentiality of data, because the most advanced current protocols in cryptography are being undermined by the possibilities of quantum computers.
For example, the Shor algorithm is theoretically capable of breaking any public-key cryptographic system such as the RSA. If it hasn't done so yet it's because quantum computers are still too primitive for it to be practically programmable, but it's only a matter of time before it gets there and we can be sure it will be attempted as it's a problem that research has been passionate about for years.
Where it becomes worthy of fiction is that even if the data is currently encrypted, as soon as it is transmitted it can be recorded, copied during its transit, stored and waited for the day when it can be decoded. In other words, any secret becomes potentially discoverable. All whispers will be able to be heard.
But we're not standing still.
"Quantum advances prompted the NSA to announce, in 2015, that it was becoming urgent to seriously consider alternatives to current cryptography, and then the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), in 2016, to kick off a competition to develop such "quantum-resistant" algorithms. In total, nearly 70 submissions to the competition were received by NIST, with four currently selected."
"The four cryptographic protocols selected by NIST will now become part of NIST's post-quantum cryptographic standard, which is expected to be finalized in about two years."
Researchers at Inria, who are passionate about this kind of theoretical problem, have been actively contributing to the development of the protocols.
For the full article: Quantum computer: four algorithms designed to resist its threat
Illustration: depositphotos - agsandrew
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