Quantum computing’s threat to crypto — Part 2

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Work on quantum computers is accelerating as developers grow more confident that they will be able to address problems that are intractable with classical computing. That may be good news in some contexts, but bad news for cryptography. The concern is that quantum computers will crack the cryptographic schemes that protect our online lives, financial systems, and communications networks. An algorithm to do so has been around since 1994, awaiting the development of a quantum computer upon which it can run. The challenge in cryptography is to find a way in which two entities can communicate securely over a public channel. This is easy to do if the entities can meet and share a secret for use as the basis of a coding scheme. It’s more difficult if the two entities never meet, and so cannot share a secret in this way. Public key schemes address the...