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About The Post Quantum Cryptography


Computation has transformed various facets of human civilization, from banking to warfare, however, the emergence of Quantum Computing has raised concerns about its impact on Computer Security in the Future.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Quantum Computing
  2. Significance of Quantum Computers
  3. Post Quantum Concerns of Quantum Computing: Safeguarding Security

Quantum Computing:

  • Quantum computing is a field of computer science that utilizes the principles of quantum theory to process and manipulate information.
  • Quantum theory describes the behavior of energy and matter at the atomic and subatomic levels.
  • Quantum computers have the potential to solve complex problems by exploring and analyzing a vast number of possibilities simultaneously.
Working Principle:
  • Quantum computers use qubits (quantum bits) instead of classical bits.
  • While classical bits can only represent either a 0 or a 1, qubits can exist in a superposition, representing both 0 and 1 simultaneously until measured.
  • Multiple qubits can also be entangled, meaning their states become interconnected and quantum mechanically linked.
  • Qubits can be implemented using various physical systems, such as manipulating atoms, ions, electrons, or artificial atoms created through nanoengineering techniques like superconducting qubits.
  • These physical systems allow for the control and manipulation of quantum states to perform computations.
  • Quantum computers rely on principles like superposition, entanglement, and quantum interference to perform complex calculations efficiently.

Significance of Quantum Computers

  • Quantum Phenomenon: Quantum computers exploit quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, enabling them to manipulate vast amounts of information in parallel. This paves the way for groundbreaking applications in diverse domains.
  • Molecular and Chemical Interactions: Quantum computers hold promise in simulating complex molecular and chemical interactions. They could provide invaluable insights into drug discovery, material science, and catalyst design, expediting the development of life-saving drugs and innovative materials.
  • Optimization Problems: Quantum computers have the potential to solve complex optimization problems more efficiently than classical computers. This can lead to advancements in fields like logistics, supply chains, and transportation, optimizing resource allocation and minimizing costs.
  • Artificial Intelligence: By enhancing the power of artificial intelligence, quantum computers can significantly improve machine learning algorithms and data processing. This could lead to more accurate predictions, better decision-making, and greater understanding of complex datasets.
  • Scientific Discoveries: Quantum computers have the capacity to unravel mysteries in fundamental physics, cosmology, and quantum field theory. They may lead to novel scientific discoveries and a deeper understanding of the universe.
  • Financial Modeling: Quantum computers could revolutionize financial modeling and data analysis, providing faster and more accurate predictions for markets and economic trends.

Post Quantum Concerns of Quantum Computing: Safeguarding Security

Vulnerabilities in Current Security Techniques:
  • Quantum computers, using algorithms like Shor’s algorithm, can easily break widely used cryptographic algorithms such as RSA, ECC, and Diffie-Hellman. As quantum computing progresses, these security measures will become vulnerable, necessitating the exploration of alternative techniques.
    • RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman): RSA is a widely employed cryptographic algorithm and a fundamental pillar of modern computer security. It plays a crucial role in secure communication and data encryption, offering confidentiality and authentication across various applications.
    • Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC): ECC is a contemporary and extensively utilized cryptographic technique that combines security and efficiency in various computer security applications. Its popularity stems from its ability to offer strong protection with lower computational resources.
    • Diffie-Hellman (DH) Key Exchange: Introduced by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman in 1976, Diffie-Hellman is a key exchange algorithm designed to establish a shared secret key between two parties over an insecure channel. It is a foundational element of modern public-key cryptography, ensuring secure key exchange for secure communication.
Complex Implementation of Quantum Cryptography:
  • Quantum cryptography systems, like Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), can be challenging to implement and scale to large networks due to the need for specialized hardware and tight environmental constraints.
Limitations of Quantum Cryptography:
  • Quantum cryptography faces limitations in terms of the distance over which secure keys can be distributed.
  • Extending the range of secure key distribution is a significant challenge for researchers in this field.
Building a Robust Quantum Network Infrastructure:
  • Creating a reliable quantum network infrastructure requires developing quantum repeaters, quantum routers, quantum memory, and other components to ensure the secure transmission of quantum information.
Integration of Quantum and Classical Communication:
  • As the transition to post-quantum cryptography progresses, hybrid communication scenarios will arise, where both classical and quantum communication systems coexist.
  • Ensuring seamless integration and secure communication between these systems presents a challenge.

Source: The Hindu

March 2024