Summary of In the War for Information, Will Quantum Computers Defeat Cryptographers?

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In the War for Information, Will Quantum Computers Defeat Cryptographers? summary
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For centuries, cryptographers and code breakers have played a game of tit for tat, each trying to outdo the other. And just when cryptographers thought they’d found a flawless way to encode data, along came quantum computing, offering a master key to all the world’s data. Cryptographer Craig Costello explains the basics of encryption and the dangers quantum computing poses. At its core, quantum computing is an esoteric concept, and Costello does get technical. But if you aim to keep your data secure, you’ll want to grasp encryption’s limits in the face of quantum computing.

About the Speaker

Cryptographer Craig Costello is a senior security and cryptography researcher for Microsoft.



A battle over the secret transfer of information has raged between code makers and code breakers for centuries.

One of the most notorious historical examples of ciphering and decoding occurred in the 16th century, when Mary Queen of Scots sent encrypted letters to her henchmen, instructing them to assassinate England’s Queen Elizabeth I. But when Elizabeth’s code breakers intercepted and hacked Mary’s messages, revealing her ambitions, Elizabeth had Mary executed. During World War II, British mathematician Alan Turing, the inventor of the modern computer, broke the Nazis’ “unbreakable” Enigma code and helped tilt victory in favor of the Allies.

For decades, scientists considered “public-key cryptography” to be an unbreakable cryptographic solution.

In the 1970s, cryptographers thought they’d solved the cryptography conundrum once and for all. They developed public...

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