Quantum hackers can bring down Bitcoin: expert

(MENAFN– Asia Times)

NEW YORK – $3 trillion of cryptocurrency assets are, or soon will be, vulnerable to hacking by quantum computers, one of China’s top cryptographers told an Asia Times webinar on November 30.

You won’t know if it’s happening until it’s too late, Professor Jintao Ding of Tsinghua University explained. And the best thing about hacking Bitcoin, he explained, is that it isn’t against the law.

Crypto analysts have worried about the quantum invasion for some time. Motley Fool’s Zhiyuan Sun wrote in September,“The rise of quantum computing may soon give governments a means to crack down on Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrencies… Governments could potentially decrypt digital currencies or launch hash attacks to take over their network for a regulatory shutdown with these machines.”

“Most governments like Bitcoin as much as we like walking with rocks in our shoes,” Sun added. No government dislikes Bitcoin as much as China, which banned onshore trading of cryptocurrencies in 2019 and forbade Chinese from trading on offshore crypto exchanges last September.

“Our modern information system relies completely on public key cryptography, including Bitcoin,” Ding told the“Data Wars” webinar, co-sponsored by the American Affairs journal and Asia Times.“If we have a quantum computer, our Zoom would be finished, and everything actually—the whole information system, because our fundamental security solution relies on it.”

Public key cryptography based on the RSA standard has been in use since the late 1970s. Each user has a public key for purposes of identification, and a private key—a password—for decryption.

The public key is based on two very large prime numbers, which are secret; only the recipient knows the prime numbers, which are required to decrypt the message. Factoring extremely large numbers into primes, decrypting the private key requires factoring extremely large numbers into primes, something that takes supercomputers a very long time to do.

Quantum cryptography is the science of exploiting quantum mechanical properties to perform cryptographic tasks. Photo: Facebook

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