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Why Quantum-Resistant Encryption Needs Quantum Key Distribution for Real Security

January 12, 2019 / Wayne Rash

The idea behind the use of quantum computers to break encryption lies in the fact that the encryption keys used by current encryption methods depend on a secret key that is used to encrypt and decrypt the information that’s being protected. Those keys are long, random—or, more likely, almost random—numbers that are shared between the parties encrypting the information and the parties decrypting it. Theoretically, you can use a variety of mathematical processes to determine the key and then use the resulting key to decrypt the information. Until recently, the best defense for encrypted information was to make the key really long and really random. While a sufficiently powerful computer might be able to figure out the key eventually, it could require too much time to be useful. How much time? Perhaps the remaining age of the universe.