The asymmetric encryption system currently used to protect credit card information and bank accounts relies on two keys. One key is the “private key” and consists of two large prime numbers known only to one’s bank or to services such as PayPal. The other key, called the “public key,” sits in cyberspace and is the product of multiplying together those two “private” prime numbers to create a semi-prime number.

The only way a hacker could access encrypted credit card or bank information would be by factoring the large “public key” (often six hundred digits or more) back to the correct two numbers of the “private key” — a Herculean computation task that would take too long for a classical computer to solve.

A future quantum computer, however, will be able to do such a computation almost instantly. Even blockchain will not be able to withstand the first quantum attack if it relies on two-key encryption architecture — the architecture protecting nearly all digital information today.

This includes our leading financial institutions, including Wall Street; our power grid and water systems; the nation’s food supply and energy resources; as well as the entire federal government. As Jason Bloomberg of Intellyx concluded in a Forbes article, “Welcome to the cyber-battlefield of the 21st century” — a battlefield that will be dominated by quantum technology.

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