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'Quantum-Safe' Crypto Hacked by 10-Year-Old PC

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A new study has revealed a way to completely break a family of postquantum cryptography algorithms known as SIKE (Supersingular Isogeny Key Encapsulation).

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Future quantum computers may rapidly break modern cryptography. Now researchers find that a promising algorithm designed to protect computers from these advanced attacks could get broken in just 4 minutes. And the catch is that 4-minute time stamp was not achieved by a cutting-edge machine but by a regular 10-year-old desktop computer. This latest, surprising defeat highlights the many hurdles postquantum cryptography will need to clear before adoption, researchers say.

In theory, quantum computers can quickly solve problems it might take classical computers untold eons to solve. For example, much of modern cryptography relies on the extreme difficulty that classical computers face when it comes to mathematical problems such as factoring huge numbers. However, quantum computers can in principle run algorithms that can rapidly crack such encryption.

To stay ahead of this quantum threat, cryptographers around the world have spent the past two decades designing postquantum cryptography (PQC) algorithms. These are based on new mathematical problems that both quantum and classical computers find difficult to solve.

From IEEE Spectrum
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