Facing tomorrow’s quantum hackers today

Governments and private companies around the world are recognizing the potential of quantum computing – which could create a “value of $ 450 billion to $ 850 billion over the next 15 to 30 years,” according to a 2021 report by the Boston Consulting Group – and are working for it. Develop their own quantum strategy and research initiative.

Healthy for quantum power

However, as quantum technology advances, dark clouds are hiding on the horizon. Hackers could one day use this processing power to break public-key cryptography systems, which form the basis of today’s secure interactions on the Internet as well as other systems such as public-key infrastructure, code-signing systems, secure email and keys. – Management systems. Experts warn that this is a major threat to modern digital security that needs to be addressed. “It will completely break down these crypto systems,” says Dustin Moody, a mathematician at the US-based National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Although a full-scale quantum computer has not yet become a reality, the danger is imminent. Duncan Jones, head of cybersecurity at Quantum, a Cambridge- and Colorado-based quantum computing company, says he is concerned about a specific problem. “If I send you some encrypted data today and someone records it, they can access it later,” Duncan says. “They don’t need a quantum computer today to get into it. They can patiently sit on that data and then they can decrypt it in the future.

To protect against such quantum attacks, post-quantum cryptography is emerging as an efficient and effective solution. It refers to a set of new cryptographic algorithms, especially in public-key algorithms, that can be implemented using today’s classical computers.

There is a growing urgency for enterprises of all sizes and industries, as well as for public bodies and other organizations to make their systems crypto-agile and to adopt such quantum-resistant algorithms in their security framework. Companies and organizations cannot afford to wait and see how the quantum-computing landscape evolves. Jung Hee Cheon, a professor of mathematics at Seoul National University in South Korea, says “the cost will increase if quantum computers are adopted after they are installed.” Given the high stakes, the proactive approach becomes crucial rather than reacting to such risks.

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This content was created by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.

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