FWD: Quantum computer cracks crypto keys quickly
db at thoughtport.net
Wed Apr 1 16:39:00 UTC 1998
Does Zimmerman know about this?! ;-)
Begin forwarded message:
RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest Wednesday 1 April 1998 Volume 19 :
FORUM ON RISKS TO THE PUBLIC IN COMPUTERS AND RELATED SYSTEMS
ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 1998 -05:00:00 -0500
From: andrew at greenehouse.com
Subject: Quantum computer cracks crypto keys quickly
A small team of researchers has succeeded in building a prototype
of the so-called "quantum computer" that can factor large numbers
quickly and defeat public-key cryptosystems.
The researchers cracked the DES-IV-1 challenge, revealing the
message "Can't anyone around here keep a secret?"
Since the new computer is based on superconducting quantum
interference devices, it is not bound by conventional temporal
limits on computation. In fact, the researchers were able to use
their system to crack challenges that had not yet been created.
These future secret messages included, "God in Heaven, what have we
done?" and the cryptic "tsopyadslooflirpanasisihtsey" -- which
clearly shows that future challenges are going to use multiple
layers of encryption.
President Clinton congratulated the researchers, but said that he
was considering a proposal to ban the export of quarks from the
United States until the NSA could implement a quark escrow system,
by which each quark in the universe would be uniquely numbered.
When asked if their invention would enable scientists to foretell
the future, the researchers pointed out that they can only decrypt
messages that are encrypted using certain methods that are known
today. Furthermore, there is no way for them to determine if the
messages that they receive are authentic or if unknown people are
sending false messages to confuse us.
"If only there were a reliable way to digitally sign a transmission,"
bemoaned one of the researchers.
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