Exploring the Ironclad Encryption Standard by@ejioforfrancis200
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Exploring the Ironclad Encryption Standard

by Ejiofor FrancisAugust 29th, 2022
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Modern cryptography has birthed public key cryptosystems, which are elegant pieces of encryption algorithms that have guaranteed information safety for decades now

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Modern cryptography has birthed public key cryptosystems, which are elegant pieces of encryption algorithms that have guaranteed information safety for decades now. However, there has been worry that these cryptosystems are susceptible to the improving processing power of computers. For instance, public key cryptosystems like RSA and Diffie-Hellman are not based on concrete mathematical proofs but instead are considered secure based on years of public scrutiny with respect to the fundamental process of factoring large integers into their primes. This process is intractable, which means by the time the encryption algorithms can be cracked, the information it protects would have lost all of its value.

In other words, the power of these algorithms lies in the fact that there is no known mathematical operation that can quickly factor large integers into their primes. There will be a way around this if there is a major development in the processing power of contemporary computers. If there becomes the possibility of either a mathematical operation in this regard or improved computing power, businesses, governments, and other institutions would suffer fatal damage. However, quantum cryptography promises to be vulnerable to neither advancement of computing power nor mathematical development.

The newcryptographic standards therefrom will withstand quantum computers—a developing technology that is expected to be able to solve mathematical problems, including factoring integers into their primes, that contemporary computers cannot solve. It will complement modern cryptography and strengthen cybersecurity.

Quantum cryptography depends solely upon the fundamental and unchanging principles of quantum mechanics—the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the photon polarisation principle.

According to the former, it is impossible to measure the quantum state of a system without disturbing the system. And the latter, which describes how photons of light can be oriented or polarised in specific directions, says that the polarisation of photons of light can only be known at the point of measurement. These principles make aphoton filter only detect a polarised photon in a particular orientation or else the photon is destroyed. This one-direction-ness that is characteristic of quantum cryptography guarantees data privacy and defeats any eavesdroppers in the communication channel.

According to Charles H. Bennet and Gilles Brassard, photons can be polarised at various orientations, and these orientations can be harnessed to represent bits comprising zeros and ones. The representation of bits with orientation of polarised photons is the bedrock of quantum cryptography, which forms the underlying principle of quantum key distribution. This method will give rise to cryptographic standards that will be ironclad regardless of the computing power of malicious attackers or the development of theorems with which to quickly solve complex integer factorization problems.

There has been a development of encryption standards based on quantum cryptography. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) started the post-quantum contest in 2016, which received 69 initial viable submissions from all over the world from which there are now 7 finalists.  The candidate algorithms that NIST is running the competitions on all promise strong security that is needed for quantum resistance.

“The reason they take so long to standardize is because our confidence in them is a function of how many hours really smart people are taking to try to break them,”

-said Charles Tahan, director of the national quantum coordination office at the White House, in an interview.