quantum computing and why the internet will soon suck
ladies and gentlemen, if i may, i would like to introduce you to the whodi peter shor:
i know what you’re thinking – he looks EXACTLY like nerd life’s answer to the question “what is nerd life for $2000, alex?” you’re right.
peter is a boss in the quantum computing field. he is known for his candy-painted low riders on swangas, his comprehensive 8-track collection, and shor’s algorithm, which essentially brings integer factorization and computation of discrete logarithms well within the reach of mortal lifetimes.
a couple of somethings ago, i tweeted a link about rsa’s securid getting ravaged and i compared it to the magic device hidden in the answering machine that could decrypt EVERYTHING AWESOME in the 1992 movie sneakers. i was taking a bit of creative license there, and i meant to correct myself with a more thorough post later. well, now is later, so yeah.
before i go any further, i want to point out that the same writers who wrote wargames also wrote sneakers. i actually own both dvds. they did not write the movie hackers (i wrote that movie).
the internet and technology grows really fast. as anyone who spams on multiple c-classes knows, we are currently seeing usable IPv4 space dwindle away. IPv4 was invented during internet v0.7, and it has taken us this long to pull our heads out of our asses and start playing with IPv6 like real gentlemen. for those of you old enough to remember the Y2K bug, this was also a limitation in old hardware and software programs that made centenarians zero years old. it was like being born on a leap year or something.
radical quantum computing is most likely already in the capable hands of the NSA. those alphabet soup guys in and around the eastern seaboard are probably already mining the shit out of bitcoins with their quantum rigs, buying up all of the LSD on the lol deep web and feeding it to their engineers, but that should be the least of your worries.
solving the science of effective integer factorization renders a lot of the encryption standards virtually useless. simply put, SSL (the technology all of your non-techie friends rave about on facebook, making their facebook accounts “unhackable” via https) is based off of the RSA algorithm. banks use it, amazon uses it, your p. nis uses it, the internet uses it. in simple terms, it works as follows:
Generate two large prime numbers, p and q
Let n = pq
Let m = (p-1)(q-1)
Choose a small number e, coprime to m
Find d, such that de % m = 1
Publish e and n as the public key.
Keep d and n as the secret key.
checking the primality of a few big ass numbers is easy in polynomial time. doing math is easy in polynomial time. downloading porn is easy in polynomial time. conventional computing makes backing those initial values out via factorization from nothing but a key very difficult. however, properly harnessed quantum computing makes that process easy, like those other things i just typed up there.
post-quantum cryptography is a current field of research, but who knows how quickly internet standards will catch up, because humans are fucking dumb. this is why i don’t bother to encrypt anything. my password is sex.