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Key concepts and current technical trends in cryptography for policy makers
OECD
2024.06.20
This report introduces cryptography to policy makers and includes key concepts such as symmetric and asymmetric cryptography, public key infrastructure, and end-to-end encryption. It discusses advancements in homomorphic encryption, which allows computations to be performed on encrypted data without decrypting it first and accessing the secret key. Often described as “the holy grail of cryptography”, homomorphic encryption remains a promising area of research rather than a fully developed technology. The report also addresses quantum technologies, which could pose a threat to the foundations of public key cryptography, potentially undermining trust in the digital ecosystem. While current quantum computers are far from causing such disruptions, a transition to quantum-resistant (or post-quantum) cryptography is essential today to address their future impact. Additionally, quantum cryptography shows significant promise for secure communications but is not yet suitable for sensitive applications.