I've read/watched a lot about Quantum Computers, trying to really get into the physics of it. Seems like the topic is poorly explained. I do understand that it takes a lot of qbits to beat modern encryption, so there's no concern for a while longer.

So while I do see lots of articles/videos claiming Shor's algorithm will defeat encryption, nothing has explained how the key is captured, and/or how the hashing/salting of the key is undone such that the algorithm has a proper number to work with. Seems like those are pretty big hurdles to overcome regardless of the algorithm.

1 Answer 1


Shors algorithm breaks the assumption that finding primes pairs is hard (one of the main assumptions of algorithms like RSA).

So Shors Algorithm allows you to 'quickly' find the matching prime pair given a known prime (e.a. the public key)

Elliptical Curve Algorithms are not vulnerable to Shors algorithm, (and currently there is no known algorithm to shorten it)

The above is Wrong. Eleptical curves are also vulnerable to Shors algorithm

So your assumptions are wrong:

  • Do you need to break the hashing/salting: No
  • Do you need to capture the key: No

What you need is some processing and the Public key of something (e.g. the key you do not keep secret and here with everybody)

  • Your statement about ECC being invulnerable to Shor's algorithm is not correct. You can check that for yourself by running some cursory google searches.
    – mricon
    Sep 22, 2020 at 13:10
  • hmm, seems I was workign with old information. thanx for pointing that out I changed the awnser.
    – LvB
    Sep 22, 2020 at 13:16
  • @LvB I'm still a bit confused. If I look at my own sha256 public key, it's not a number. So how do you go from public key to a format you can apply Shor's algorithm to? There must be some conversion right?
    – Karric
    Sep 22, 2020 at 16:46
  • Everything in a computer is a number. In computers all numbers are base binary. Binary numbers can be stored in different formats that are easier to read / exchange.
    – LvB
    Sep 22, 2020 at 16:47
  • @LvB - Right, I forgot about other bases.
    – Karric
    Sep 22, 2020 at 17:09

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