Future Of Cryptography: Understanding Quantum-Safe Timelines and Deployments (2023)

By Massimiliano Pala, CableLabs Inc.

The digital era, recently fueled by amazing advancements and synergies in computer science and information technology, has placed an unprecedented reliance on cryptography for securing data. However, the very cryptography that provides security and resilience across the world now stands on the cusp of a significant paradigm shift. The advent of quantum computers, a technological achievement in itself, is indeed poised to challenge the very bedrock of contemporary cryptographic systems, thus urging for fundamental shifts in our algorithms adoptions. In fact, quantum computers, with their fundamental differences in their computational capabilities from classical computers, have the potential to threaten current encryption and authentication systems. Traditional encryption schemes like RSA [Rsa16] or ECDSA [Ec05] rely heavily on mathematical problems such as factoring large integers and discrete logarithm problems, tasks that are computationally infeasible for classical computers but can be swiftly dealt with by a Cryptographic Relevant Quantum Computer (CRQC). In the face of these imminent threats to digital security infrastructure, the security community must respond urgently with an adaptable and future-proof strategy: crypto-agility. This strategy, which emphasizes the ability to shift from one cryptographic system or algorithm to another, is quickly becoming a necessity rather than an option. This paper aims to delve into the impending risks posed by quantum computing to present-day cryptography, scrutinize the challenges in crypto-analysis, and explore the need for the adoption of crypto-agility processes within digital security paradigms. In this work we focus on providing important considerations on practical timelines for quantum-safe migrations for the broadband community together with a look at Future of Cryptography project that aims at providing guidelines for how to build a safer and secure future in the quantum age.

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