EN­CRYP­TION MAY BE AT RISK

Maximum PC - - QUANTUM COMPUTING -

One big ques­tion is whether en­cryp­tion sys­tems are at risk with quan­tum com­put­ers. The ma­jor con­cern is the RSA en­cryp­tion scheme. The scheme is se­cure be­cause it re­lies on the con­di­tion that fac­tor­ing a large num­ber into its primes is too time­con­sum­ing. When try­ing to find the prime num­bers, there are many strate­gies, so the sim­plest one is to guess and try. A trial and er­ror ap­proach isn’t prac­ti­cal, though, since a 2,048 -bit num­ber has mil­lions of so­lu­tions. Some strate­gies can re­duce the num­ber of pos­si­ble so­lu­tions, but even the most pow­er­ful meth­ods will take years or mil­lions of years. With the right al­go­rithms, a quan­tum com­puter could re­duce that time to a prac­ti­cal level. Ef­forts are un­der­way to cre­ate other al­go­rithms that are not break­able this way.

While this is pru­dent, the risk that a quan­tum com­puter can do this within 15 years is low. To­day’s quan­tum com­put­ers are both small and hard to pro­gram. The frame­works avail­able for pro­gram­ming are few and far be­tween. As you can see in other parts of this ar­ti­cle, you’ll still be set­ting a few qubit states and twist­ing the states. Con­vert­ing that to a fine-tuned en­cryp­tion-cracker is, more than likely, a far-off prospect for now.

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