You’re not going to like hearing this: the arsenal of mental and physical resources is out there right now could easily bring down our cybersecurity system, which protects the trivial, such as emails, to the critical, think banking system. The only reason it hasn’t happened yet: the intent hasn’t been there.
It was on this quite grave note that the session, “Keeping Secrets: Cryptography in a Connected World,” ended June 4 at the World Science Festival. But the lively panelists, often in disagreement with one another, seemed to be unanimously content with this assertion. It was raised first by Brian Snow, who previously worked at the National Security Agency, creating and managing their Secure Systems Design division. In other words, he would know.
The problem isn’t so much encryption, which are mainly algorithms and extremely laborious math problems that act as padlocks to protect data. There are of course some difficulties: it is hard to build a system that will be secure in the future, as programmers must try to project how smart and resourceful future mathematicians and hackers might be.