Cryptography in the Quantum Era

Recent advances in quantum computing and quantum information theory represent a severe threat to the current state of the art of data protection. In this context, new quantum-safe techniques have emerged in recent decades, which fall into post-quantum and unconditionally secure cryptographic schemes. The firsts rely on computational problems supposed to be hard also for quantum computers. In contrast, the seconds do not depend on the difficulty of a computational problem and are therefore immune to quantum power. In particular, unconditionally secure techniques include Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) protocols for transmitting secret keys thanks to the quantum properties of light. In this work, we discuss QKD networks and post-quantum algorithms, considering their opportunities and limitations and showing that reconciliation between these two directions of cryptography is feasible and necessary for the quantum era.This work is part of the activities of the PON project “Development of quantum systems and technologies for IT security in communication networks” (QUANCOM) which aims to the realization of a metropolitan quantum communication network through the collaboration between universities, research centers and companies operating in the communication market area.

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