NIST’s Post-quantum Cryptography Semi-finals This Week
Bitcoin’s race to outrun the quantum computer
+ Want to steal some Bitcoin? All you need to do is find your victim’s 16-character public key and calculate their private key by solving something called an “elliptic curve discrete logarithm problem.” No sweat! With a regular computer, that’ll take you around 50 million times the amount of time the universe itself has left—around 0.65 billion billion years.
The world’s best cryptographers meet this week to compete in a U.S.-sponsored challenge to create a quantum-resistant standard.
+ ”If someone cracked your key, they could do anything they wanted,” Rob Campbell, President at Baltimore,Maryland-based Med Cybersecurity, told Decrypt. Anyone with sensitive information on the blockchain—cash, personal data, medical records—is at risk. With that sort of information, quantum hackers could “forge your name, take your assets,” and, if there’s medical data to be found, maliciously “triple your dose,” said Campbell. “It’s an open door.”
+ Until a quantum-resistant algorithm is tested and accepted by the wider academic community, there’s no assurance that any of these blockchains will be resilient enough against quantum computers. Scientists like Campbell are waiting on the results of next week’s NIST competition at UCAL-Santa Barbara; the final winners might not be announced for a few years, however. NIST tentatively expects drafts for standardisation will be completed around 2022.
Content may have been edited for style and clarity.