Security Program Controls/Technologies, Threat Management

Chinese researchers report breakthrough in quantum computing

According to Chinese researchers, they can break the 2048-bit algorithm, the RSA public-key encryption system, via a quantum computer; however, many experts are questioning their research, reports The Record, a news site by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. Although 2048-bit RSA has been replaced in consumer-facing protocols, like the Transport Layer Security, older enterprise, operations technology software and many code-signing certificates still widely use the RSA algorithm. And being able to decrypt messages or generate signing keys protected by RSA would allow a threat actor to possibly share malicious codes or watch internet traffic, enabling them to control third-party devices. The researchers paper has been discussed on Google Groups, and some have disagreed with their findings. They claim that the RSA algorithm can be broken using a 372-qubit quantum computer, but the researchers can only train on a 10-qubit device and were unable to show their theory on any device with more than 48 bits. Their paper was also shared in the preprint service arXiv without being peer-reviewed, which is a necessary minimum standard to assess a papers scientific value. Cryptography expert Bruce Schneier warns that the groups algorithm was based on German mathematician Peter Schnorrs controversial research that falls apart at larger sizes while demonstrating the ability to factorize numbers on the scale of 10-qubit computer the researchers used. The arXiv publication said the authors are affiliated with some of the prestigious universities in China, including several State Key Laboratories that receive direct support and funding from Beijing.

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