In DepthCryptography

Codemakers find algorithms immune to quantum hacks

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  23 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6455, pp. 730-731
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6455.730

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

A full-fledged quantum computer is still years, if not decades, away. But developers have long thought its killer app will be decoding encrypted messages on the internet and elsewhere, be they state secrets or personal information. That prospect has galvanized cryptographers. At a meeting this week in Santa Barbara, California, they will discuss nearly two dozen schemes for encrypting messages in ways that even quantum computers cannot crack. The workshop is part of a push by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, to set standards for so-called postquantum cryptography. The multiyear effort may sound premature and a bit paranoid, as such a quantum computer may never exist. But cryptographers say now is the time to prepare, especially because anybody could record sensitive communications now and decipher them later. NIST could standardize two or three algorithms each for encryption and digital signatures as early as 2022. A fuller migration throughout society could take years longer.

View Full Text