Post-quantum cryptography

Abstract

Cryptography is essential for the security of online communication, cars and implanted medical devices. However, many commonly used cryptosystems will be completely broken once large quantum computers exist. Post-quantum cryptography is cryptography under the assumption that the attacker has a large quantum computer; post-quantum cryptosystems strive to remain secure even in this scenario. This relatively young research area has seen some successes in identifying mathematical operations for which quantum algorithms offer little advantage in speed, and then building cryptographic systems around those. The central challenge in post-quantum cryptography is to meet demands for cryptographic usability and flexibility without sacrificing confidence.

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Figure 1: Perspective view of a 9 × 9 × 9 subset of a non-orthogonal three-dimensional lattice.
Figure 2: Merkle tree with public key Y15 to sign eight messages.

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Acknowledgements

We thank A. Hülsing and B.-Y. Yang for their comments. Author list is in alphabetical order; see https://www.ams.org/profession/leaders/culture/CultureStatement04.pdf. This work was supported by the European Commission under Contract ICT-645622 PQCRYPTO; by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under grant 639.073.005; and by the US National Science Foundation under grant 1314919. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (or other funding agencies).

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D.J.B. and T.L. jointly inventoried the space of cryptographic systems, selected specific systems and quantum algorithms to cover, decided on the organization, and wrote text. No new experiments were performed.

Correspondence to Tanja Lange.

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Bernstein, D., Lange, T. Post-quantum cryptography. Nature 549, 188–194 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature23461

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