Atakama already has strategies for post quantum cryptography. Atakama’s infrastructure consists of three general cryptographic components: asymmetric cryptography (considered most susceptible to quantum computing), symmetric cryptography (considered resistant with sufficient bit lengths), and threshold cryptography.
With regard to asymmetric cryptography: Atakama has been developed on a modular basis, and while the current system’s asymmetric cryptographic needs are met by elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), a switch can be made seamlessly to Lattice-based cryptography, such as NTRU Prime, which is quantum computing resistant. As for symmetric cryptography, Atakama uses the NIST standard Advanced Encryption System (AES). AES accommodates 128 bit keys, 192 bit keys and 256 bit keys. Atakama uses 256 bit keys. Such keys are widely considered to be quantum resistant. However, Atakama’s design enables a switch to other symmetric ciphers, including Kalyna, which accommodates 512 bit keys. Lastly, as for threshold cryptography, Atakama uses what is known as Verifiable Secret Sharing Scheme (VSSS), based on Shamir’s Secret Sharing Scheme (SSSS). SSSS is inherently quantum proof. VSSS uses asymmetric cryptography commitments. These are also seamlessly selectable in code.
Bottom line: when quantum computing is ready, Atakama will be ready with solutions.
Quantum Computing: When?
Although Atakama is ready for quantum computing, there are significant reasons to be skeptical of its viability in the near term. The development of large-scale, practical quantum computers is still an active area of research and it is not yet clear when such computers will be built.
One of the main challenges in building a practical quantum computer is that the qubits, the basic building blocks of quantum computers, are highly sensitive to their environment and can be difficult to control. There are several reasons why it is difficult to scale up the number of qubits in a quantum computer. Some of the main challenges include:
- Decoherence: Interactions with the environment, such as temperature fluctuations and electromagnetic radiation, can cause the qubits to lose their quantum state, a phenomenon known as decoherence. The more qubits you have, the more challenging it becomes to keep them all in a stable quantum state.
- Control: Another challenge in scaling up quantum computers is that the qubits need to be precisely controlled to perform computations. This requires precise measurements and control of the qubits' environment, which can be difficult to achieve at a large scale.
- Connectivity: As more qubits are added to the quantum computer, it becomes more difficult to ensure they are all connected and can interact with each other as needed.
- Error correction: As we move forward to larger qubit count, noise and errors become more frequent and harder to correct. Error-correction codes and quantum error-correction protocols become more important and harder to implement.
These challenges are being actively researched by scientists and engineers in the field, and progress is being made in addressing them. However, building large-scale, practical quantum computers is a highly complex and difficult task, and it is not yet clear when such computers will be built.
We at Atakama are of the viewpoint that it is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. Although we do not expect the emergence of quantum computing in the near term, we are ready for its arrival, whenever that may be.