How Quantum Computers Break The Internet... Starting Now | Summary and Q&A

March 20, 2023
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How Quantum Computers Break The Internet... Starting Now


Quantum computers pose a threat to current encryption methods, prompting the development of new encryption algorithms that are resistant to quantum attacks.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why are nation states and individual actors collecting encrypted data if they can't open it?

Nation states and individual actors collect encrypted data because they anticipate having access to quantum computers within the next 10 to 20 years, which can break the encryption and provide them with valuable information.

Q: What is the difference between symmetric and asymmetric key algorithms?

In symmetric key algorithms, the same key is used for both encryption and decryption, while in asymmetric key algorithms (such as RSA), different keys are used for encryption and decryption.

Q: How does a quantum computer factorize large numbers faster than a classical computer?

Quantum computers leverage the superposition and entanglement of qubits to perform calculations on multiple states simultaneously, allowing them to solve certain mathematical problems, such as factoring large numbers, exponentially faster than classical computers.

Q: How are lattices used in encryption algorithms resistant to quantum attacks?

Encryption algorithms based on lattices leverage the difficulty of solving the closest vector problem in high-dimensional spaces. This problem becomes exponentially harder as the number of dimensions increases, making it resistant to attacks from both classical and quantum computers.

Q: How many qubits are currently available for quantum computation?

As of now, the number of available qubits is not sufficient to break RSA encryption, and significant advancements in quantum technology are needed. However, the progress in the field is exponential, and it is a matter of time before quantum computers catch up with existing encryption methods.

Q: What steps are being taken to protect against quantum attacks?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has initiated a competition to identify new encryption algorithms that are resistant to quantum attacks. Researchers are exploring mathematical methods, such as lattices, as potential solutions. NIST has already selected four post-quantum cryptographic standards for further development.

Q: How does Brilliant help in understanding quantum algorithms and cryptography?

Brilliant offers courses on quantum algorithms and data analysis, which provide a comprehensive understanding of the principles behind quantum computing and encryption. The interactive lessons and simulations allow learners to gain hands-on experience in executing quantum algorithms and analyzing data, building a strong foundation in these fields.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Nation states and individual actors are storing encrypted data in anticipation of future quantum computers that can break encryption.

  • Quantum computers operate using qubits, which can exist in multiple states simultaneously, allowing for exponential computation power.

  • Current encryption methods, such as RSA, rely on the factoring of large numbers that would take classical computers millions of years to solve, but can be quickly done using quantum algorithms.

  • To protect against quantum attacks, new encryption algorithms based on lattices and other mathematical methods are being developed.

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