In a recent development, scientist Ed Gerck alleges to have cracked RSA-2048 encryption using quantum computing. Gerck, a quantum computing developer at his own firm, Planalto Research, claims to have achieved this breakthrough using a commercial cellphone or Linux desktop, at a cost of less than €850. Skeptical security experts and cryptographers are demanding proof, as the common approach to breaking RSA encryption involves using Shor’s algorithm on a quantum computer, a feat currently unachievable due to the lack of sufficiently powerful quantum computers.
Gerck’s claims, if proven, could pose a significant threat to organizations and governments still relying on RSA to secure sensitive data. Quantum computers, unlike classical computers, can process data in parallel, potentially cracking even large keys generated using RSA in a matter of days or hours. However, powerful quantum computers are not yet a reality and are expected to become viable only in several years.
In anticipation of this potential threat, the U.S. National Security Agency has advised organizations involved in maintaining national security systems to transition to the Commercial National Security Algorithm Suite 2.0, a set of quantum-resistant algorithms. The U.S. government has set deadlines for compliance with CNSA 2.0, with the aim to have all systems updated or replaced by 2033.
Tech giants are already preparing for this shift to post-quantum cryptography. The Chromium Project recently adopted a hybrid cryptographic algorithm for Chrome and Google Servers. Other cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Cloudflare, IBM, and Microsoft, are also researching and updating their products for post-quantum cryptography.