US RAND Corporation, has published a report recently that quantum computers pose an “urgent but manageable” threat to the security of modern communications systems.
The non-profit think tank’s report , “Securing Communications in the Quantum Computing Age: Managing the Risks to Encryption,” urges the US government to act quickly because quantum code-breaking could be a thing in, say, 12-15 years.
Michael Vermeer, a RAND scientist and lead author of the report has commented that it may become impossible to ensure secure authentication and communication privacy without major, disruptive changes, unless and until new security measures has not taken place by the time capable quantum computers are developed.
Scott Aaronson who is a computer scientist, in University of Texas at Austin have proposed an even hazier timeline.
It is to be noted that the quantum computers built by Google and IBM have been in the neighborhood of 50 to 100 quantum bits (qubits) and that running Shor’s algorithm to break public key RSA cryptosystems would probably take several thousand logical qubits – meaning millions of physical qubits due to error correction. So Aaronson is of the opinion that he does not think anyone is close to that, and there is no idea of how long it will take.
But University of Chicago computer science professor Diana Franklin, opines that Shor’s algorithm might be a possibility in a decade and a half.
Quantum computers capable of crypto-cracking will be functional by 2033, according to the RAND report . Some experts give a warning that proposed dates may be both before and after that. The adoption is not expected until the mid-to-late 2030s, or later, since PQC algorithm standards should gel within the next five years.
But the duration, required for the US and the rest of the world to fully implement those protocols to mitigate the risk of quantum crypto cracking may still take a longer time.
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