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1 Introduction
Pages 12-15

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From page 12...
... Cryptography is a complex and specialized subject: Chapter 2 of this report introduces aspects of cryptography for readers who are not familiar with it, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) glossary is a useful reference.2 For most of recorded history, encryption was an arcane process used primarily by governments, the military, the Roman Catholic Church, and a few commercial organizations that sought to protect their communications from disclosure.3 Today, cryptography also enables authentication (verifying the identities of people, code, and the origins of transactions)
From page 13...
... requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine establish a committee to identify potential scenarios for the balance between encryption and decryption over the next two decades and to assess the national security and intelligence implications of each scenario. The objective of the committee's effort is not to predict what developments will occur, but to identify the range of possible developments and their implications, and to provide the Intelligence Community with recommended ways of identifying which future scenarios are materializing so that U.S.
From page 14...
... A sufficiently large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer could be programmed to defeat almost all of the asymmetric13 (i.e., public key) encryption and digital signature systems in current use on the Internet.14 Specifically, the public-key encryption and digital signature algorithms in common use on the Internet today are based on problems like factoring that would be defeated by a quantum computer.15 Public-key encryption schemes based on other mathematical hardness assumptions (such as finding 13  Unlike symmetric encryption systems whose origins go back millennia, asymmetric encryption systems apply a public key that can be shared widely to encrypt information, and a separate private key, related to the public key by a hard-to-solve mathematical problem, to decrypt information.
From page 15...
... In addition to the potential impact of quantum computers, the committee addressed the impact of other trends in technology, policy, and society on the encryption issues that will face the Intelligence Community over the next one to two decades. The committee found that the impact of poor software and system design and implementation practices was a more significant threat to defense and a more significant opportunity for offense than the potential development of a quantum computer.

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