Robert McEliece Quantum Proof Code

Nobody has built a quantum computer much more powerful than a pocket calculator but that hasn’t stopped people worrying about the implications of the post-quantum computing world. Most worried are the people who rely on cryptographic codes to protect sensitive information. When the first decent-sized quantum computer is switched on, previously secure codes such as the commonly used RSA algorithm will become instantly breakable.

Which is why cryptographers are scurrying about looking for codes that will be secure in the post-quantum world. Today, Hang Dinh at the University of Connecticut and a couple of pals show that cryptographers have been staring at one all along. They say that a little-used code developed by the CalTech mathematician Robert McEliece in 1978 can resist all known attacks by quantum computers.

First, let’s a make a distinction between symmetric and asymmetric codes. Symmetric codes use identical keys for encrypting and decrypting a message. Quantum computers can dramatically speed up an attack against these kinds of codes. However, symmetric codes have some protection. Doubling the size of the key counteracts this speed up. So it is possible for code makers to stay ahead of the breakers, at least in theory. (Although in practice, the safe money would be on the predator in this cat and mouse game. )>


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Posted: August 30th, 2010
at 8:35am by Koookiecrumbles

Categories: security

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