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NIST takes measures to defend itself against future quantum computer threats



The National Institute of Standards and Technology said it has selected the first group of four encryption tools designed to withstand attacks from as yet unpowered, more powerful quantum computers.

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based NIST, which is part of the US Department of Commerce, said such an abuse “could potentially crack the security used to protect the integrity of the digital systems we trust every day”, including online banking and email programs.

Quantum computers are machines that use quantum mechanical phenomena to solve mathematical problems that are difficult or difficult to solve, according to NIST.

Although the design of a large-scale quantum computer would be complicated, it is is now considered “just a significant engineering challenge”

;, NIST said in an earlier statement.

NIST said in a statement on Tuesday that encryption “uses mathematics to protect sensitive electronic information, including secure websites and emails.”

“Well-used encryption systems with public keys rely on mathematical problems that even the fastest conventional computers find difficult to handle, ensuring that these sites” are inaccessible to unwelcome third parties, “it said.

But “a sufficiently capable quantum computer … could solve these mathematical problems quickly and defeat encryption systems,” it said.

NIST said that the choice of the four encryption algorithms follows a six-year effort, and that another four are under consideration.

Both conventional and quantum computers should have difficulty solving the mathematical problems that the four selected algorithms rely on, NIST said, “thus defending integrity both now and on the road.”


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