Security Implications Of Quantum Computing

Key points…

+  For public key cryptography, such as RSA and ECC (Elliptic-Curve Cryptography), quantum computing represents an existential event. A fully developed quantum computer using Shor’s algorithm, a polynomial-time quantum computer algorithm for integer factorization, will be capable of cracking a 2048-bit RSA implementation in perhaps as little as a few days. Since so many secure applications depend on the scalability of public key cryptography, this is an extremely serious issue.

The race is on to find and implement a public-key cryptographic algorithm that will stand up to the challenges posed by quantum computers.


+  Work is well on its way to define Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC). The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is sponsoring a competition to find, evaluate and standardize a public-key cryptographic algorithm (or algorithms) that will stand up to the challenges posed by quantum computers. Now in its third round of finalists and alternates, the final portfolio of PQC algorithms is expected to be announced sometime in 2022. Common among the finalist algorithms is greater computational intensity, larger key and cypher text sizes, or all of the above, than today’s public key algorithms.

+  Designers will need time to implement the chosen algorithm standard(s) in their products, and that lead time can be as much as a couple of years for new chips and devices, and up to ten years for networking infrastructures and networking protocols. It will also take many years to upgrade and deploy existing computing and network hardware on a broad scale.

+  Secure endpoints (everything with a network connection) will require upgrading, which in some cases may mean new hardware, as software will not be fast or secure enough to process the new PQC algorithms. The impact on network architecture and infrastructure, which is highly tuned for network efficiency, will be significant, due to the larger keys and ciphertext. This too may entail significant upgrades or replacements.

Source:  SEMICONDUCTOR ENGINEERING.  Helena Handschuh,  Security Implications Of Quantum Computing…

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