PANDORA-improve your reading -14
Besides protecting Internet transactions, cryptography (or “code making”) keeps records secure, including those vital to a country’s national security. For that reason, government agencies such as the CIA are investing heavily in quantum computers. On the one hand, governments want to be able to crack codes. On the other hand, they want to create safe new quantum encryption systems.
Some of today’s most advanced cryptography systems deal with prime factors. A number’s prime factors are the two prime numbers which, when multiplied together, give you the larger number. It’s easy to fi gure out the prime factors of a small number like 15 (5 and 3). However, for much larger numbers, which are used for data encryption, it would take millions of years using today’s computers. But that system’s usefulness may be nearing its end. Quantum computers, because they can perform simultaneous operations, are very good at fi guring out prime factors. When they become powerful enough, they’ll make today’s encryption systems unsecure.
Quantum cryptography is so safe because of the nature of quantum mechanics. When someone (such as a thief) intercepts a transmission between two quantum computers, the simple act of looking at the transmission destroys it. Only the sender and receiver can know what’s happening. Also, in a quantum system, two qubits can become connected, which is called “entanglement.” When qubits in two computers are entangled, they create a perfect “lock and key” system. Again, only your computer and the computer you send information to can be involved in the data transfer.