Quantum Computers: The risks and opportunities

Quantum computers could break encryption. But that is just one part of the story.

08 December 2023

“Someday, quantum mechanics may fundamentally change the way computers work. Right now, people can barely figure out how to make quantum computers add two 1-bit numbers, but who knows what will happen? Quantum computation techniques will render most public-key algorithms obsolete,” wrote Bruce Schneier 23 years ago in his classic security book Secrets & Lies.

“Someday” has started to arrive. Modern quantum computers could soon crush the mathematical problems that underpin many current encryption schemes. Is encryption dead? Not quite – the threat of losing classic encryption is leading to breakthroughs. But it’s a serious transition that decision-makers shouldn’t ignore.

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