I'm writing a near-future sci-fi novel where general quantum computing has been developed and SSL has been replaced with a security protocol based on quantum key distribution (QKD). Tor would still be able to establish circuits based on QKD. What sort of attacks would be effective, given the speed of quantum computing? Could NSA perform statistical attacks fast enough to expose the whole network? Would there be a different class of attacks available to someone with fewer resources than the NSA?

If this is too off-topic or beyond your knowledge-base, where would be the appropriate place to ask this?

  • If you don't get an answer within a time-frame you consider appropriate I'd consider to ask on the tor-talk mailing-list. (lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-talk). I think that this question can be answered without going off-topic. – bastik Oct 12 '13 at 14:18
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    Large part of this question is about the field of cryptography which is not by far in practical use. I think it could be difficult to find an answer here. There is also the Cryptography site which contains some interesting questions in the field of quantum cryptography like How will Cryptography be changed by Quantum Computing?. Unfortunately there is only a partial answer. – pabouk Oct 12 '13 at 17:00

There are several mundane methods of encryption that are resistant to both quantum and classical systems; for example, the McEliece cryptosystem and Unbalanced Oil and Vinegar. I've heard of some groups who are already experimenting with similar implementations. As to speed of analysis, it would seem that at some point quantum computing and communications would cheapen to the point of public use, leveling the playing field.

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