Sep 142017

TU/e professor of Cryptology Tanja Lange. Photo: Bart van Overbeeke

Researchers are in a race against time to prepare new cryptographic techniques before the arrival of quantum computers, as cryptographers Tanja Lange (Eindhoven University of Technology) and Daniel J. Bernstein (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA) describe today in the journal Nature. In their publication they analyze the options available for this so-called post-quantum cryptography.

The expectation is that quantum computers will be built some time after 2025. Such computers make use of quantum-mechanical properties and can therefore solve some particular problems much faster than our current computers. This will be useful for calculating models for weather forecasts or developing new medicine. However, these operations also affect protection of data using RSA and ECC. With today’s technologies these systems will not be broken in a hundred years but a quantum computer will break these within days if not hours.

Sensitive data in the open

Without protection a lot of sensitive information will be out in the open, even data from years back. “An attacker can record our secure communication today and break it with a quantum computer years later. All of today’s secrets will be lost,” warns Tanja Lange, professor of Cryptology at Eindhoven University of Technology. This concerns private data, bank and health records, but also state secrets. Lange saw the importance of alternative systems already back in 2006 and is busy with creating awareness and developing new systems. “Fairly recently we’re seeing an uptake of post-quantum cryptography in the security agencies, e.g., the NSA, and companies start demanding solutions.”

Research consortium

Lange leads the research consortium PQCRYPTO consisting of eleven universities and companies. PQCRYPTO started in 2015 with 3.9 million euro funding from the European Commission to develop new cryptographic techniques. “This might seem like a lot of money, but is a factor of 100 less than what goes into building quantum computers.” says Lange. She cautions that it is important to strengthen research in cryptography. “Bringing cryptographic techniques to the end user takes often another 15 to 20 years, after development and standardization.”

Shor’s algorithm

In their Nature publication Lange and Bernstein explain that a certain quantum algorithm, namely Shor’s algorithm, breaks all cryptographic techniques that are currently used to establish secure connections on the Internet. Candidates for post-quantum cryptography can roughly be categorized into two types: they are either very well understood and confidence-inspiring but require a lot of bandwidth or they are more convenient to use but provide more questionable security.


The publication appears in an issue of Nature with special attention to topics related to quantum computers: from different candidates of elementary building blocks of quantum computers till, e.g., the development of new algorithms. The journal invited Lange to write the article on post-quantum cryptography.

Learn more: ‘The dark side’ of quantum computers


The Latest on: Quantum computers
  • Could Quantum Networking Be The Next Big (IT) Thing?
    on November 21, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Before diving into the concept of quantum networking, it’s worthwhile to look at the underpinnings of quantum computing. Traditional computational systems today use binary language that employ “bits” that are represented by an “on” state of 1 or ... […]

  • Japan launches its first quantum computer
    on November 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Japan has unveiled its first quantum computer prototype, amid a global race to build ever-more powerful machines with faster speeds and larger brute force that are key towards realising the full potential of artificial intelligence. Japan's machine can ... […]

  • IBM claims ‘quantum supremacy’ over Google with 50-qubit processor
    on November 21, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    What he dubbed as a “seemingly inconsequential moment” became the basis of a fault-tolerance theory which makes the 50-qubit quantum computer possible. Early last month Google’s quantum computer research team announced it had made strides towards ... […]

  • ‘Quantum Computing … Changes Everything’
    on November 21, 2017 at 8:23 am

    On Nov. 18, Jonathan Tepperman, Foreign Policy’s editor in chief, interviewed Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), at the Halifax International Security Forum. Video of the full interview is embedded below. […]

  • Discover the quantum computing market analysis to 2022
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    The market estimations in this report are based on the marketed sale price of Quantum ComputingMarket (excluding anydiscounts provided by the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler or traders). This report divides the Quantum Computing Market based on the ... […]

  • Yale professors race Google and IBM to first quantum computer
    on November 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    8 women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them — with nudity, groping and lewd calls Robert Schoelkopf is at the forefront of a worldwide effort to build the world’s first quantum computer. Such a machine, if it can be built, would use the seemingly ... […]

  • The Variational Quantum Eigensolver: An unsung hero of approximate quantum computing
    on November 20, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Over the last year, the quantum computing community has made incredible progress on many of the things that are needed for quantum computing to start having an impact on real world problems. This spans hardware (including the free and public IBM Q ... […]

  • Yale professors race Google and IBM to the first quantum computer
    on November 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    SAN FRANCISCO — Robert Schoelkopf is at the forefront of a worldwide effort to build the world’s first quantum computer. Such a machine, if it can be built, would use the seemingly magical principles of quantum mechanics to solve problems that today ... […]

  • Quantum computers take a step forward with a 50-qubit prototype
    on November 19, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Bit by qubit, scientists are edging closer to the realm where quantum computers will reign supreme. IBM is now testing a prototype quantum processor with 50 quantum bits, or qubits, the company announced November 10. That’s around the number needed to ... […]

  • Why Rigetti Computing Could Beat Google and Intel to the Quantum Computer
    on November 18, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Rigetti Computing wants to create a whole new type of computer that uses quantum physics to supercharge artificial intelligence. The startup, based out of Berkeley, California, is facing off against Google, IBM and Intel, all of which are aiming to build a ... […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: