[Cryptography] Quantum computers and the Government

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Wed Sep 8 11:53:23 EDT 2021

On Tue, Sep 7, 2021 at 6:28 PM Tom Mitchell <mitch at niftyegg.com> wrote:

Follow the WW2 enigma machine history for hints.  Decoded messages
> (ULTRA) were not widely distributed if at all.  There was a risk of
> losing the advantage.  Thus it had to be managed and verified out of
> band in ways that kept the secret about decoding secrets secret.
> Start with problems and applications and watch for breakthrough
> solutions to hard problems.

Unless you are a nation state actor or a Bin Laden / Timothy McVeigh level
threat, the chance that someone with quantum cryptanalysis capability would
act on information received from a decrypt of your data is slim to none.
Even attempting to work on your data is a rather remote possibility.

If a decrypt falls in the forest and nobody reads it, is it a breach?

> Watch for data gathering that obviously has value in the context of a
> quantum solution horizon.

I am sure that has been going on for decades on a contingency basis. The
only real limit to collection being the need to store it all.

Re-encrypting large amounts of bulk data like movies etc. does make things
harder for the surveillance state as it increases storage requirements.

There are multiple companies and groups working on this... I doubt
> real hardware exists sufficient to break encryption.
> Existing hardware may be busy looking for secret key generation flaws.

A company just went public for a third of a billion whose product will
generate a secret key for you using 'quantum cryptography'. I sure hope
there is more to that product than their CEO was able to explain on CNBC
because in my book the test of a secret key is the chance someone else
might know it or guess it. A scheme that inserts a superfluous trusted
third party does not add value in my book...
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