What Does the Specter of Quantum Attacks Mean for Cryptography
(SecurityIntelligence) Quantum computers could potentially offer unprecedented capabilities to tackle problems that classical computers cannot solve today. These systems will also change the way we approach cybersecurity. In 1994, Peter Shor showed that a large-scale quantum computer would be able to break today’s most-used public key crypto algorithms, such as Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA), Diffie-Hellman and Elliptic Curve Cryptography, by using Shor’s algorithm.
Not surprisingly, researchers have been working hard on alternative methods for protecting our data as quantum computing progresses. Two methods are:
–One set of methods is quantum cryptography, which is mostly known for quantum key distribution (QKD) — e.g., the BB84 protocol. QKD is implemented by encoding the secret key in quantum states, which are sent in the form of photons (light particles) across optical fibers or free space.
–Another method is quantum-safe cryptography, which involves a new set of classical encryption algorithms based on mathematical problems that are believed to be hard to solve on a quantum computer (as well as on a classical computer). Such algorithms are considered resistant to quantum attacks.
Multiple standardization efforts for quantum-safe cryptography are already ongoing.