According to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), while quantum computers are unable to crack public key cryptographic algorithms, public and private entities must prepare for future threats against cryptography that is not resistant to how many. Most of today’s digital communications, including cryptocurrencies, take advantage of public key cryptography, and CISA believes that when “quantum computers reach higher levels of computing power and speed, they will be able to crack public key cryptographic algorithms. Currently in use”.
The US government warns that nation states and private companies are actively pursuing quantum computing methods that could threaten current cryptographic standards
Cryptocurrencies that take advantage of modern cryptographic techniques could one day be hacked by quantum computers, along with other digital communications such as email, messaging services, and online banking. This is according to a recent CISA report published in late August. The US government entity points out in the report that a transition to post-quantum cryptography is needed. “Don’t wait for quantum computers to be used by our adversaries to take action,” the CISA report details. “Early preparations will ensure a smooth migration to the post-quantum cryptography standard once it becomes available.”
Discussions about whether or not quantum computing can breach public key cryptography have been ongoing since scientists made progress in entanglement of the first quantum bit pair (qubits) in 1998. Quantum computers use complex physics to calculate powerful equations related to today’s contemporary cryptographic and mathematical systems. Since 1998, superquantum computers have improved with 14 entangled calcium ion qubits in 2011, 16 superconducting qubits in 2018, and 18 entangled qubits in 2018. CISA says quantum computers will create new opportunities, but the technology also leads to negative consequences in terms of encryption security.
“Nation states and private companies are actively pursuing the capabilities of quantum computers,” details of the CISA report. “Quantum computing opens up exciting new possibilities; however, the consequences of this new technology include threats to current cryptographic standards. ”
While researchers claim that Bitcoin’s public key technology leverages “quantum-resistant multiple one-way hash functions,” some Blockchain projects are preparing for a post-quantum world
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin take advantage of contemporary cryptographic methods and it has been said many times over the years that it is necessary to protect cryptocurrencies with post-quantum cryptography. In 2020, when industrial company Honeywell revealed that it had built a quantum computer that effectively harnesses six actual qubits, cryptocurrency advocates began discussing the potential future effects of quantum computers on Bitcoin and 256-bit cryptography. Some advocates of digital currency have already begun to make preparations for a quantum computer cryptography break event. Cambridge Quantum Computing is working with Honeywell on a project that “can be applied to any blockchain network”.
Despite the efforts of cryptographers, some researchers firmly believe that large-scale quantum computers will never materialize. Others think the timeline is much closer than people expect, and some scientists have said it could be in five years or so. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) believes 15 years is more reasonable. Meanwhile, Ethereum developers have been researching quantum strength alongside Hyperledger Foundation’s Ursa distributed ledger project. Cryptographers preparing for a post-quantum world believe that encryption techniques such as AES-128 and RSA-2048 will not provide adequate security against quantum computer attacks.
Andreas Antonopoulos: “Satoshi Nakamoto’s Little Genius design element is not an accident”
The debate has raged for years, and many people think that government warnings and recent quantum-based technology achievements from Honeywell, Google, Microsoft and others are the incentives people need to embrace post-quantum cryptography.
Many articles, research reports and mainstream headlines claim that quantum computing will break any contemporary cryptography and even predict traffic jams and accidents long before they happen. However, Bitcoin advocates have claimed on various occasions that the SHA256 cryptography used by Satoshi’s creation is a formidable enemy against a post-quantum world.
“In Bitcoin your public key is not (initially) made public. While you share your bitcoin address with others so that they can send you bitcoins, your bitcoin address is just a hash of your public key, not the public key itself, “software developer and cryptocurrency advocate Chris Pacia wrote in 2014. “What does it mean in English? A hash function is a one-way cryptographic function that takes an input and transforms it into a cryptographic output. For one thing, I mean you can’t derive input from output. It’s kind of like encrypting something [and] then lose the key.
The software developer’s 2014 paper on the subject concludes:
All of this is a complicated way of saying that while an attacker with a quantum computer could derive the private key from the public key, they could not derive the public key from the bitcoin address since the public key ran through more resistant to how many hash functions. unidirectional.
In a video with the bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos, said using different bitcoin addresses every time is the key to bitcoin security. Antonopoulos pointed out that Satoshi’s two encryption design choices are “absolutely brilliant”. “What you use, which is a Bitcoin address, is a double hashed version of your public key, which means that the public key is never seen by anyone until you claim it by spending the transaction … This little design element ingenious is not an accident “, Antonopoulos further stated in his opening speech. “What it does is create a second-level abstraction of the underlying cryptographic algorithm used in elliptic curve digital signatures that allows for future updates.”
This means that the past is safe because it is hidden behind the second veil of a different algorithm and the future can be changed because you can present an address that is not the hash of an elliptic curve, or is the hash of a different elliptic curve. , either it is the hash of a larger elliptic curve, or it is the hash of a quantum resistant signature algorithm that has nothing to do with the elliptic curve. So, you can make forward changes to protect the future and you have backward protection because you have hidden the past.
What do you think of the recent US government warning about quantum computers? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Chris Pacia, Bitcoin Not Bombs,