Today’s encryption methods are generally broken down into two types: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric encryption relies on the sender and receiver to have identical, secret cryptographic keys that are used to encrypt the data at the sender and decrypt it at the receiver. Asymmetric or “public-key” encryption instead uses a publicly-available key to let senders encrypt data to a recipient who has the private key required for decryption. Often, these are used together: the HTTPS protocol in your web browser is an example of a real-world deployment of combined symmetric and asymmetric cryptography.
These types of encryption are generally well-suited to protect against attacks that run on today’s computers, especially when longer key pairs are used, such as 256-bit elliptic curve keys or 3072-bit RSA keys. With the best modern computer, it would likely take thousands of years for an adversary to determine the private keys by brute force.
But what happens when today’s computers give way to quantum computing?
Click here to read more ...