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How Quantum Computer Could Break 2,048-Bit RSA Encryption in 8 Hours

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The Vesuvius architecture of quantum chips made by D-Wave Systems.

Researchers at Google and Swedens KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a technique that a quantum computer could use to crack 2,048-bit RSA encryption in just eight hours.

Credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

Researchers at Google and Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a more efficient technique for decryption calculations by quantum computers.

Google's Craig Gidney and KTH's Martin Ekera demonstrated that a quantum system could crack 2,048-bit RSA encryption with just 20 million quantum bits (qubits), rather than requiring 1 billion qubits as previously theorized, in only eight hours with this technique.

The technique uses modular exponentiation, a mathematical process for finding the remainder when a number is raised to a certain power and divided by another number.

Gidney and Ekera have formulated various ways to optimize this process, reducing the resources required to run the large-number-factoring Shor's algorithm.

Said the researchers, "The worst-case estimate of how many qubits will be needed to factor 2,048-bit RSA integers has dropped nearly two orders of magnitude."

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