Harvest and decrypt is just one scheme that will compromise key data upon the introduction of quantum computers. It has already been proven that today’s encryption, including RSA and ECC, will be broken by a large-scale quantum computer using Shor’s algorithm. Author Meredith Rutland Bauer explains:
“Internet users like me have long relied on encryption for security and peace of mind, but cryptography experts are becoming aware of its faults—namely, that encryption can only protect against the tools we have now, and better, smarter tools are on the horizon. Quantum computers, which are fundamentally different from traditional computers because they leverage quantum mechanics to do calculations, could easily decrypt the advanced encryption we use widely. So even if encrypted data is safe from today’s hackers, it’s potentially vulnerable to hackers of the future.
Experts are concerned that cybercriminals might exploit this vulnerability with a scheme called harvest and decrypt. It’s a long-game attack where hackers scrape encrypted data and hold it, sometimes for decades, while they wait for quantum computers to become widespread enough for them to buy one. As soon as they have access to the device, they’ll use it to decrypt the stored data, which could contain anything from social security numbers to health information to a slew of nuclear missile codes.”
Mike Brown, CTO & Co-Founder of ISARA Corporation, confirms that this algorithm successfully runs on a quantum computer, proving the threat quantum computers hold to today’s confidential information.
Read the complete article on Wired.