Security

Quantum research threatens existing encryption paradigm


According to Dark Reading, two groups of scientists apparently have (separately) implemented computing schemes that might unravel the robustness of existing encryption technology as we know it today.

Site editor Tim Wilson explained that many current encryption technologies, such as RSA, rely on the difficulty of computing prime factors in very large numbers. As the size of the numbers involved are increased, it becomes harder for any computer to find the solution.

However, this assumption may not hold true for much longer.

Excerpt from the article:

Using an experimental computer based on photonics, the researchers in Australia and China have independently been able to do a full-scale implementation of something called Shor's Algorithm, a non-linear method of factoring composite numbers. Shor's Algorithm breaks many of the rules of linear computing and therefore has no trouble finding the prime factors in any number, no matter how large.

The research shakes the foundation of all types of currently available encryption methods. If the quantum computer can factor any number of any size with equal ease, then, theoretically, no algorithm based on linear computing is safe.

According to the University of Queensland researchers: "The full realization of Shor's algorithm will have a large impact on modern cryptography."

In the meantime, Seagate's FDE hard disk or not, I think I'll stick with full disk data wipes for now.

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

7 comments
seanferd
seanferd

that quantum computing, aside from lab setups designed to do only one thing, are a long way off. I suppose some gov't may be in danger of having their info decrypted by another gov't, but this would appear to be very limited. The good news is that quantum encryption, which cannot be broken, and any attempt to intercept the encrypted data would be immediately detectable. This is much closer to being a technology that can be commercially deployed than quantum computers. Do a search on "quantum encryption" or "quantum computing". I read most I know about q-comp in Scientific American issues a while back, I must admit. Also, I understand more about Q-bits than Shor's Algorithm, which I do not recall hearing about. Good article.

Langlier
Langlier

so in 35 years when they sell home quantum pcs... how many will be mostly used for solitare :)

seanferd
seanferd

Since Q-bits exist in a superposition of states until the wave function is collapsed (the bit is read), the quantum solitaire "dealer" could essentially "cheat" in that it (depending on the program) could wait, until you flipped a card, to decide what the card is. Maybe a good way to create, fake, or bypass AI for video games. GTA VII: You Can't Win in Liberty City.

mariotrz
mariotrz

if the programmer of the game is too selfish nobody would ever win, because the cards would always be choosed by the program in such a way that they would never fit... then no one would ever buy the program and the programmer would go broke!

apotheon
apotheon

Darned site glitch caused an inadvertent double-post. Ignore this one.

apotheon
apotheon

Quantum computing actually provides far greater potential for a good solitaire game than traditional, linear computing models, if for no other reason than improving the "randomness" of the deck shuffle. Yep: computing technology advances so we can get a more authentic simulation of a means of wasting time that dates back at least to Napoleon's exile.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

Interesting post and article. I have been trying to get my grey matter to understand the Shor's Algorithm and "constant bounded probability" for some time now. Hopefully the existing encryption technology will be advanced enough to use algorithms based on quantum mechanics by the time this research becomes public.

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