How quantum computing will change security

By Skyler Frink
Today, most password protected systems have fairly strong encryption and security features. The time it would take a traditional computer to crack the encryption of a network would be so long the network would have already changed its password and any data gained from previous communications would be too old to be worth anything.

Quantum computers are set to change all of that in a drastic way. As an example, forms of RSA are used in secure websites and email systems (notice the https:// instead of http:// on these pages). RSA is based on how difficult it is for computers to factor integers, and is used in almost all public-key cryptography (cryptography that is used across an open network). Quantum computers are adept at factoring integers and if the problems holding them back were solved they would quickly make RSA obsolete, compromising one of the most popular forms of secure communications over the Internet.

Rather than using security that is based off of the difficulty of factoring integers, other lattice-based cryptography or systems based on problems in coding theory. Quantum computers are not yet known to crack those systems easily, but quantum algorithms have far more potential than classic algorithms for problem solving.

While effective quantum computing may not arrive for some time, when it does land it will completely alter the security landscape.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

December 2013
Volume 24, Issue 12
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