Big Data Security · Cryptography

Can Google's "quantum-key" be broken? What if there is a better solution?

Nicholas Meyler Recruiter/Broker for "Disruptive"‚Äč Talent. Questing for the Next $Trillion Unicorn.

July 8th, 2016

How do we know that this new "key" can't be broken, too?  If so, what would a superior solution be worth?  Who might want it?

Joseph Wang Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories

July 10th, 2016

In cryptography, you start with the assumption that given enough time and effort, everything can be broken.  The effort goes with quantifying how much time and effort it takes to break something.

In the current situation, quantum ciphers-crackers are not a practical way of breaking ciphers.  Right now the best quantum computers can crack five digit numbers, whereas current codes are in the hundreds of digits.  It turns out with pencil, paper, and a clever high school student, you can beat quantum computers with the current state of technology.

The issue is that the technology is moving forward, and people think that quantum computers could become a serious threat around 2030, so people are working on developing the math now.

In order to break something that is quantum resistant, you'd have to have a fundamental breakthough in math or physics.  It's possible that the universe just won't allow you to do that.  On the other hand it's possible that there is this fundamental breakthrough that no one knows about.  However, even then you can do some time estimates. 

I can't guarantee that over the next century some uber-genius won't figure out some way of breaking all of the current ciphers, but I do have some assurance that it won't happen in the next year or even in the next decade.  One way of figuring this out is to ask the uber-geniuses that work on this sort of thing, suppose there is some clever way of breaking ciphers that no one has thought of, how long do you think it will take for people to stumble onto it, and the answer tends to be ten years.

Now as far as knowing that someone hasn't figured out a way of breaking the ciphers now.  You can look at governmental body language.  If someone in the NSA had a way of magically breaking ciphers then a lot of the Snowden revelations would not have made sense.

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

July 11th, 2016

Hello Nicholas,

It is too soon to worry about breaking a quantum-key. From a practical point of view, to be broken, it need first to be in wide use. For that to happen, quantum computers must be common place, or at least in the form of server (D-Wave is a remarkable concept, so far no practical use). None of that has yet happened. There are still some years down the road for a quantum computer to be useful, then the commercialization of it can take place. As of this moment, it is still just an experiment.

That said, I would love that moment when quantum computers start to be useful, be sooner rather than later.


Pradeep Thomas

July 9th, 2016

short answer, we don't :), cryptography underpins all secure communication, cards, payments, inter bank transfers, secure logins, everyone would want it.