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Category# Post-quantum cryptography

Summary

In cryptography, post-quantum cryptography (PQC) (sometimes referred to as quantum-proof, quantum-safe or quantum-resistant) refers to cryptographic algorithms (usually public-key algorithms) that are thought to be secure against a cryptanalytic attack by a quantum computer. The problem with currently popular algorithms is that their security relies on one of three hard mathematical problems: the integer factorization problem, the discrete logarithm problem or the elliptic-curve discrete logarithm problem. All of these problems could be easily solved on a sufficiently powerful quantum computer running Shor's algorithm.
Even though current quantum computers lack processing power to break any real cryptographic algorithm, many cryptographers are designing new algorithms to prepare for a time when quantum computing becomes a threat. This work has gained greater attention from academics and industry through the PQCrypto conference series since 2006 and more recently by several workshops on Quantum Safe Cryptography hosted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the Institute for Quantum Computing. The rumoured existence of widespread harvest now, decrypt later programs has also been seen as a motivation for the early introduction of post-quantum algorithms, as data recorded now may still remain sensitive many years into the future.
In contrast to the threat quantum computing poses to current public-key algorithms, most current symmetric cryptographic algorithms and hash functions are considered to be relatively secure against attacks by quantum computers. While the quantum Grover's algorithm does speed up attacks against symmetric ciphers, doubling the key size can effectively block these attacks. Thus post-quantum symmetric cryptography does not need to differ significantly from current symmetric cryptography.

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Related concepts (5)

Related categories (4)

Lattice-based cryptography

Lattice-based cryptography is the generic term for constructions of cryptographic primitives that involve lattices, either in the construction itself or in the security proof. Lattice-based constructions are currently important candidates for post-quantum cryptography. Unlike more widely used and known public-key schemes such as the RSA, Diffie-Hellman or elliptic-curve cryptosystems — which could, theoretically, be defeated using Shor's algorithm on a quantum computer — some lattice-based constructions appear to be resistant to attack by both classical and quantum computers.

Lattice problem

In computer science, lattice problems are a class of optimization problems related to mathematical objects called lattices. The conjectured intractability of such problems is central to the construction of secure lattice-based cryptosystems: Lattice problems are an example of NP-hard problems which have been shown to be average-case hard, providing a test case for the security of cryptographic algorithms. In addition, some lattice problems which are worst-case hard can be used as a basis for extremely secure cryptographic schemes.

Learning with errors

In cryptography, Learning with errors (LWE) is a mathematical problem that is widely used in cryptography to create secure encryption algorithms. It is based on the idea of representing secret information as a set of equations with errors. In other words, LWE is a way to hide the value of a secret by introducing noise to it. In more technical terms, it refers to the computational problem of inferring a linear -ary function over a finite ring from given samples some of which may be erroneous.

Computer security

Computer security, cyber security, digital security or information technology security (IT security) is the protection of computer systems and networks from attacks by malicious actors that may result in unauthorized information disclosure, theft of, or damage to hardware, software, or data, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. The field is significant due to the expanded reliance on computer systems, the Internet, and wireless network standards such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Computer engineering

Computer engineering (CoE or CpE) is a branch of electronic engineering and computer science that integrates several fields of computer science and electronic engineering required to develop computer hardware and software. Computer engineers require training in electronic engineering, computer science, hardware-software integration, software design, and software engineering. It uses the techniques and principles of electrical engineering and computer science, and can encompass areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, computer networks, computer architecture and operating systems.

Applied sciences

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to applied science: Applied science – the branch of science that applies existing scientific knowledge to develop more practical applications, including inventions and other technological advancements. Science itself is the systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Applied cryptography – applications of cryptography.