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Do quantum computers threaten global encryption systems?

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Canadian firm D-Wave sells a working quantum computer.

Quantum computers are modern marvels because of their potential ability to do trillions of calculations a second.

Credit: D-Wave

Make a mobile phone call and encryption is there to stop eavesdroppers listening in.

Spend money online and encryption ensures your card number and identity cannot be scooped up and used elsewhere.

And the money that keeps global banking systems lubricated only does so thanks to cryptographic software that turns a stream of data into unintelligible nonsense.

Remove all that encryption and the whole lot comes tumbling down.

If that happens we might return to an era when commerce was mostly done face-to-face and based around who you know.


Yet quantum computers - another modern marvel - are threatening to make this doomsday scenario a reality.



From BBC News
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