Previous chapters focused on cryptography today, but in this chapter I’ll examine the future of cryptography over a time horizon of, say, a century or more—one in which quantum computers exist. Quantum computers are computers that leverage phenomena from quantum physics in order to run different kinds of algorithms than the ones we’re used to. Quantum computers don’t exist yet and look very hard to build, but if they do exist one day, then they’ll have the potential to break RSA, Diffie–Hellman, and elliptic curve cryptography—that is, all the public-key crypto deployed or standardized as of this writing.

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