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Post-quantum computing cryptography analysis



effects of quantum computing on encryption



Security of encryption and hashing algorithm rely on computational unfeasibility of solving some classes of hard mathematical problems in reasonable time and with finite / cost effective computation resources.
Quantum computing, based on quantum bits (qbits) which can exist in superpositions of states, provides breakthrough performances in solving some classes of hard mathematical problems over classic computing methods, based on binary digital electronic architecture; the impact of this performance improvement must be carefully evaluated to assess security of existing cipher and hash functions in a scenario where quantum computers will be available.

impact of quantum computing on cryptography

Under current understandings, the impact of increasingly more powerful quantum computers with increasingly larger number of qbits has very different degrees of impact on feasibility to reduce / break security of algorithms commonly employed in symmetric-key or public-key cryptography.

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Quantum computing and symmetric-key encryption algorithms


To preserve data secrecy, symmetric-key cryptography rely on a shared secret element (password / passphrase, keyfile, biometric data, or combinations of more factors as in two-factor authentication) between two or more parties.
The need to share this element, needed by receiver for decryption, is the main disadvantage of (secret) symmetric-key cryptography solutions over public-key cryptography solutions.
PeaZip currently supports only symmetic-key encryption mechanisms, using password / passphrase and optionally two-factor authentication (password / passphrase + key file), which under current understandings are quite secure against attacks by arbitrarily sized quantum computers.
Grover's quantum algorithm is the best-possible known attack for most of current generation symmetric encryption algorithms (and hash functions), providing - for NP-complete problems - a quadratic speed-up over a classic computing based brute-force search.

quantum computing attacks on encryption

Consequently, as a general rule, doubling the size of a symmetric key can effectively make up for the increase of efficiency of Grover's algorithm over classic brute-forcing, and defeat the purpose of these attacks.

quantum computing and symmetric key cryptography

In example, under those premises AES 256 bit could be considered equivalent in security (when arbitrarily large quantum computers are available, using Grover algorithm over the 256 bit key space) to AES 128 bit (for classic computers, using classic computing brute-force over the 128 bit key space).
Same holds true for other symmetric key ciphers like DES, Blowfish, Twofish, and Serpent.
While a quadratic speed-up (providing a sufficiently powerful quantum computer is available) is an huge performance improvement, it is nowhere near a complete breakthrough as polynomial time solution provided by Shor's algorithm is for public-key encryption systems, so post-quantum symmetric cryptography is thought to not need to differ significantly from the current generation.
Learn more: Grover's algorithmbreaking symmetric key encryption


Quantum computing and public-key encryption algorithms


Public-key encryption systems are currently extremely popular, as they simplify key exchange task: anyone can encrypt a message using a public key released by a receiver, but only receiver's private key can decrypt messages protected by its public key.
Unfortunately, most ones of currently popular public-key algorithms are susceptible of being efficiently broken by a large enough quantum computer.

shor algorithm attack

Shor's quantum algorithm runs in polynomial time to solve hard mathematical problems used in most common public-key encryption (integer factorization problem, discrete logarithm problem, elliptic-curve discrete logarithm problem), rather than in exponential or sub-exponential time as the best, most efficient classic algorithms.

break publick-key with quantum computing

Experimenting public-key algorithms relying on problems not efficiently simplified by Shor's algorithm or other quantum algorithms, being both reasonably safe under classic computing and quantum computing -based attacks, is currently an active research topic in cryptography.
PeaZip currently does not support public-key encryption methods, only symmetric (secret) -key encryption - keys (passwords, keyfiles) needs to be privately, securely shared with receiver for decryption to take place.
Learn more: Shor's algorithmbreaking public key encryption .

quantum cryptography security

Please note quantum cryptographyquantum cryptography is a separate topic, studying how to apply quantum phenomena to cryptography in order to achieve secrecy and detect eavesdropping, rather than analyzing how quantum computers characteristics affects safety (in terms of computational feasibility of attacks or brute-forcing) of encryption / hashing algorithms - the topic discussed in this page and properly named post-quantum cryptographypost-quantum cryptography
Read more about symmetic-key encryption algorithms supported by PeaZip: Rijndael/AESaes256 (implemented as AES128 and AES256 in 7Z, ARC, PEA, and ZIP standards), and Twofishtwofish 256 bit and SerpentSerpent 256 bit ciphers (implemented for ARC and PEA standards).
Read more about cryptographically secure hash functioncryptographically secure hash algorithms


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FAQ > Security > Post-quantum computing cryptanalysis


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