Design choices for post-quantum TLS

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2024-03-30 23:00:07

The technical details aren't that important (see here for some background), but the TL;DR version is that many of our cryptographic algorithms are designed to be difficult to break using "classical" computers (which is to say the kind we have now) but may not be difficult to break if you have a quantum computer, which takes advantage of quantum mechanical effects,[1] then it might be possible to efficiently break these algorithms.

I say might because the situation is somewhat uncertain in that while people have built quantum computers, they are currently quite small, nowhere near what you would need to mount an attack on a modern cryptographic algorithm. There's a lot of money being invested in developing quantum computers, but nobody really knows when we'll have what's called a cryptographically relevant quantum computer (CRQC), which is to say one which could mount practical attacks on the cryptosystems in wide use, or whether it's possible to build one at all.

There was the time Blueshell had a humor fit at Pham’s faith in public key encryption, and Ravna knew some stories of her own to illustrate the Rider’s opinion.

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