[E-Lang] MintMaker with ACLs

Bill Frantz frantz@communities.com
Wed, 31 Jan 2001 18:39:22 -0800


At 02:01 PM 1/31/01 -0500, Ralph Hartley wrote:
>What would be the effect of quantum computation on the basic design of 
>security systems? It is clear that the effect would be substantial, but 
>would it be total? That is, could old principles and designs still be 
>used, with relatively small changes to block new threats and exploit new 
>possibilities, or would you have to basically start over from scratch? 
>Is the design of E one that would survive?
>
>Quantum computing would allow new threats to security, and new 
>capabilities, some of which might be completely impossible in 
>conventional computation.
>
>An example of a new threat would be the fact that quantum computers are 
>known to efficiently solve some problems believed to be very hard for 
>conventional computers. The most famous of these if factoring the 
>product of two primes, but there are others. Anything that relied on the 
>difficulty of such a problem for its security would be compromised.

All of the discrete log public key algorithms are isomorphic to factoring,
and so can be attacked by quantum computers.  I am not sure about the
ecliptic curve algorithms, but I think they are also vulnerable.

E uses public key algorithms for identifying vats, and for encryption and
message-authentication key agreement.  These functions will have to be
replaced, or their security enhanced by using longer keys.  (I have a vague
memory that the required key length is only painfully slow with today's
computers.  Please tell me if I am wrong.)