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As different services protect your data through encryption and that can change quantum computers?

As different services protect your data through encryption and that can change quantum computers?

Data encryption — the key to online safety

The basis for protecting data in computers and other Internet lies with encryption. To encrypt information means using some secret rules and character set — key — to transform it into a meaningless mess. To understand what the sender wanted to say, you need to decipher the “mess” — also with a key.

As different services protect your data through encryption and that can change quantum computers?, image # 1

One of the simplest examples of encryption — when each letter is replaced by a certain number (say, A — 1, B — 2, and so on). In this example, the word “baobab” will look like “1 2 15 2 1 2”, and the key is the alphabet in which each letter corresponds to a number. Actually, of course, use more complex rules, but the essence of the process remains approximately the same.

If, as in our example, the key one, at all interlocutors, such ciphers are called symmetric. Before you start to use a symmetric cipher, and all participants have the key to, to be able to encrypt and decrypt other people’s messages. And pass it will have unencrypted (encrypt after all, until nothing). And if you pass a key accounts via the Internet, it can intercept the attackers and successfully spy all that you have protected with it. It is not very convenient.

So there are encryption algorithms that use two keys: private to decrypt and public to encrypt messages (these keys are also called closed and open). Both creates the recipient. The private key he does not convey to anyone, which means that it does not intercept.

Second, the public key is designed so that anyone can encrypt information, but to decrypt it would be possible only with the corresponding private key. As a result of his not scared to transfer in plaintext — it does not threaten. This approach to encryption is called asymmetrical.

To understand how this works, imagine the following situation. Suppose Boris wants to send a secret document alle. He tells her about it, and Alla in response sends a lock that is locked without a key, and the key keeps.

Boris puts the paper in the iron box, hangs on his castle and sends Hello. Even if on the way to intercept spies, to open the lock they will not work, because the key one — and it is only with Alla.

In modern systems the encryption and “lock” and “key” (i.e. public and private keys) is typically very large numbers, and the algorithms are based on complex mathematical operations where the numbers involved. Moreover, the operations required are selected such that “turn their back” is extremely difficult. Therefore, the knowledge of the public key will not help a person to crack the encryption.

Quantum decryption

So, encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted by his private “partner” — and nothing else. So, the attackers try a private key to know. To intercept it, as we said, is impossible, because it is not transmitted. But theoretically it is possible to obtain from the public.

However, cryptographic algorithms are made such that the task of getting the private key from the public key it was impossible to solve for a reasonable amount of time.

Here on the scene of quantum computers. The fact that due to their nature, they solve such problems much faster than traditional computers.

Thus, unreasonable the time required for cracking the encryption, when you use a quantum computer can turn into quite reasonable. And this in theory could nullify the whole point of using a cipher that is vulnerable to hacking with a quantum computer.

Protection against quantum hacking

If you shudder at the idea that someday your data will decode and steal wealthy criminals with a quantum computer, don’t worry: security experts are already thinking about protection. To date, there are several key mechanisms that need to save user information from attacks of cyber criminals.

  • Traditional cryptography algorithms resistant to quantum attacks. It’s hard to believe, but we are already using encryption, which is not so terrible quantum computers. For example, the widespread hacking of the AES algorithm used by messengers like WhatsApp and Signal, quantum computers, and even accelerate, but only slightly. Are they a lethal threat for many other symmetric (i.e., single-key) ciphers. However, here we return to the problem of key distribution to all participants.
  • Algorithms designed specifically to protect against quantum attacks. Although right now nobody is hacking asymmetric ciphers, mathematicians have come up with a new that even the mighty quantum technology is not terrible. So by the time when cyber criminals will take quantum computers into service, defenders of these is likely to be able to fight back.
  • Encryption in several ways at once. Good and affordable now the solution is to encrypt the data multiple times using different algorithms. Even if hackers crack one — not the fact that they will cope with the rest.
  • The use of quantum technology against them. For secure use of symmetric ciphers, which, as we remember, less vulnerable to cracking by quantum computers use the quantum system transmission keys. They do not guarantee protection from intruders, but allow for sure to know that the information intercepted. So if the encryption key stolen in transit, it is possible to abandon it and pass on another. However, this requires a special technique, but it sold quite a and works in state organizations and private companies.

The whole Internet got hacked

So, quantum computers, although you can, apparently, hack into the codes inaccessible to traditional, they are not Almighty. Moreover, security technologies are developed in advance and will not allow the attackers to seize the advantage in the arms race.

So all the world’s encryption time is unlikely to collapse, just one algorithm will eventually be replaced by another one, and not the fact that it is bad. This is happening because technology is not standing still.

So sometimes to check what encryption algorithm uses a particular service and will not be considered if this algorithm is outdated (that is vulnerable to hacking), is worthwhile in any case. A particularly valuable data intended for long term storage, it would be wise to now begin to encrypt as if the era of quantum computers has arrived.

Kaspersky Daily

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