Wednesday April 19, 2017

Quantum Ciphers and Human Ingenuity

Quantum Computers have cryptographers worried that our concepts of modern cryptography will soon become obsolete. We've mentioned these concepts before. Quantum computers like the D-Wave X2 utilize bits that exist in superposition. In other words, bits of 1 or 0 can also be 1 and 0. The Quantum Midichlorians are strong with that droid. So strong, in fact, that modern cryptography was given a shelf life back in the 1990's when Peter Shore wrote a quantum algorithm that single-handedly cracked encryption based on integer factorisation and discrete logarithms. Like Lord Vader versus the last remaining Jedi, the RSA and the Diffie-Hellman key exchange were destroyed in a single tactical strike. Since then, other algorithms have emerged that improve upon his work. In 2012, through adiabatic quantum computation, researchers were able to modify an algorithm and successfully factor numbers as large as 56k. It would seem that with the advent of Quantum Computing, cryptography's days are numbered.

Don't give up hope yet. Cryptographers are dedicating maximum effort to protect encryption as we know it. Through Quantum-Resistant Ciphers we may be able to keep our current devices and eliminate the hidden sub group problems that Quantum Computers easily solve. If those ciphers were made to utilize true Quantum principles then our data would be protected by fighting fire with fire. Human ingenuity for the win!

Some aren't so optimistic...

"Few false ideas have more firmly gripped the minds of so many intelligent men than the one that, if they just tried, they could invent a cipher that no one could break."

- David Kahn "The Codebreakers"