Today in Dunning-Krugerrand News

Input: NSA blah blah quantum cryptography.
Output: "NASA To Develop a Quantum Resistant Cryptocurrency"

NASA To Develop a Quantum Resistant Cryptocurrency

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6 Responses:

  1. just b says:

    i think that's plain old incompetence. NOT the special D•K flavor "my facts fully support my opinions. don't question it!" like this:

  2. Nick Lamb says:


    Quantum Cryptography is something else completely. Quantum Cryptography is using Quantum Mechanics to do cryptography, the most feasible part is Quantum Key Distribution, which lets you replace Diffie-Hellman Key Agreement (the approach used today in various forms by basically everything, Signal, Noise, TLS, everything) by having special Quantum Mechanical equipment set up between every two endpoints to create the same random keys at both ends. It's a James Bond type of technology, very cool but not terribly practical. People working on this would be Physics PhD students.

    Quantum-Resistant Cryptography is perfectly mundane cryptography that nobody can find a way to attack better with a Quantum Computer than with a conventional computer. This is mostly relevant for replacing Public Key algorithms (like RSA or ECC), because Shor's algorithm lets you attack those much faster with a Quantum Computer, whereas the best algorithm for any Secret Key algorithms (like AES) is outweighed by just making the keys twice as long. AES 256 already exists so if you're scared of Quantum Computers for symmetric crypto upgrade from AES 128 to AES 256 and job done.

    The people working on Quantum-Resistant Cryptography would be Cryptographers, so Mathematicians. This isn't very cool, but it is somewhat practical. The hope is to make it practical enough to actually do it, or, at least to have it close enough that we can decide to do it whenever anybody seems to have a working Quantum Computer that isn't a toy.

    The NSA is interested in Quantum-Resistant Cryptography because so is everybody else in the cryptographic theory space. All the big workshops, all the exciting new academic papers, it's mostly Quantum-Resistant Cryptography, with maybe a little bit of better AEAD algorithms or other useful stuff in between.

    • jwz says:

      I think you missed the funny?

      • Nick Lamb says:

        I don't think so? Journalist confuses NSA with NASA, doesn't understand that crypto means cryptography not cryptocurrency. Good joke, everybody laugh.

        But your post says:

        Input: NSA blah blah quantum cryptography.

        And that's wrong, NSA in fact blah blah quantum-resistant cryptography. As I hope my explanation shows, this isn't some pedantry, it's an even bigger difference than cryptography versus cryptocurrency.

        Quantum-resistant cryptography is something that might get included in a new macOS version or something, a minor bullet point of interest only to a certain type of nerd. Quantum cryptography would mean digging up the street to lay all the new cables. Not the same ballpark.

        • jwz says:

          Ok so you just missed what "blah blah blah" means.

        • Rich says:

          A certain type of nerd, who might also work in a certain type of industry.

          Also, way to bury the lede ... or should I say ‘backdoor’?

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