No More Secrets In A PQC Era? Shor-ly not! The Dawn Of Quantum Advantage?

Arthur C Clarke once said that any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. It has become apparent that the public key and other encryption used today to ensure safe and secure transactions will be breakable with suitably advanced quantum computers that use mathematical magic to render much sensitive data transparent.

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The US White House issued a national-security memorandum in May 2021, advising federal agencies to prepare for a cryptographic transition and directing Americas National Institute of Standards and Technology (nist) to encourage the private sector to do likewise. Many people alive today will be unaware of the Y2K preparations leading up to the turn of the century postulated tech doomsday but they may not dodge Y2Q - as the quantum doomsday is sometimes called.

 In July 2022 NIST approved some equations that might ensure that sensitive data remains secure in a post-quantum computing (PQC) era with Sandboxaq an early entrant to the market to help organisations transition to using post-quantum encryption (PQE).

The Alltheus PQC design references an existing industry standard encryption protocol (RSA 2048) and elliptic curve cryptography used in many internet connections potentially becoming vulnerable to quantum computers running Shor’s algorithm. {Peter Shor was born 14 August 1959}.

Mathematics underpins much of our modern civilization and is answering our ‘SOS’ by riding to save us again in this PQC era. Alternative cryptographic means have been developed by various formal and informal groups across academia and industry. Some notable ones include Khyber by ‘CRYSTALS’ (Cryptographic Suite for Algebriac Lattices), crystals-Dilithium and falcon (Fast Fourier Lattice-based Compact signatures over ntru - reportedly standing for ‘Number Theorists Are Us’, although they may be toying with us – and SPHINCS+. You can read Sandboxaq’s commentary on the algorithms here.

Maybe if we are still a coherent species in another few thousand years people will see our current cyptography just as quaintly as we now regard the Egyptians use of cubits in their sandbox!

Watch this space!

Some interesting links are:

Transitioning organizations to post-quantum cryptography, Nature May 2022 (Paywalled)

A short 2018 video by David Joseph,  is here

The Case For Implementing Post Quantum Cryptography Today April 2022, by Rebecca Krauthamer


Peter Shor Talks About his Algorithm

QISKIT – The Story Behind Shor’s Algorithm