Quantum computing is generating increasing interest because of its potential to boost IT processing capacity dramatically. Quantum computers are still in their infancy, and even the most optimistic of industry analysts estimate that they will be at least 10 to 15 years away before they become commonplace.
While it comes to present systems, why does quantum offer a security danger and why should organisations adopt post-quantum resistant security technology now, when the emergence of quantum is still relatively “far off”?
Quantum physics has the ability to transform the world.
To store and execute complicated computations, quantum computing relies on quantum physics. When it comes to data storage, a quantum computer employs qubits, rather than binary “bits” that may be either 0s or 1s, as its primary unit of memory. Quantum speed-up allows qubits to do complicated computations in a fraction of the time it would take bits or conventional computers to do so.
There are a plethora of potential possibilities that quantum computing holds forth. Quantum computing will speed up operations like DNA and RNA modelling in the chemical and biological engineering fields. It has the potential to open up new avenues in artificial intelligence; by combinatorial processing of extremely large volumes of data, allowing for example, improved predictions and conclusions from face recognition or fraud detection technologies. Moreover, quantum algorithms have the potential to revolutionise financial services and investments, where millisecond speed improvements in acquiring pricing information might be critical.
The danger to safety
Quantum computing has the potential to accelerate growth and innovation in a wide range of sectors by allowing rapid computations and combinatorial data processing. Nevertheless, there is a disadvantage to this technology; it has the ability to ‘break’ existing encryption methods within seconds.
Our global internet economy relies on cryptography for everything from online banking to protecting intellectual property to ensuring secret interactions between people and companies. It’s a vital part of national security since it’s the default security setting for government and business communications. Quantum computing has the potential to reveal a plethora of highly sensitive information, including the intellectual property of companies, unless steps are made to safeguard present data security systems.
How urgently must companies take action?
Quantum computers with enormous numbers of qubits, capable of decrypting data securely, are expected to be accessible in at least 10 years. In the meanwhile, governments and businesses need to be aware of and take actions to protect their sensitive data from the danger posed by quantum technology, which is still a long way from a cryptographic Armageddon.
Ransomware, a sort of virus that threatens to reveal a victim’s data unless a ransom is paid, is a major cause for worry. In 2021, 37% of worldwide enterprises will report being the target of a ransomware assault, according to IDC’s 2021 Ransomware Study. Ransomware assaults are also on the rise. According to a Verizon study, the frequency of ransomware attacks would more than quadruple by 2021, and they will be responsible for 10% of all data breaches. To put it another way, the rising number of “bad actors” who are deliberately seeking for sensitive and secret data to utilise in ransom attempts is a matter for worry.
Aside from ransomware, businesses must take action to prevent their private information from being stolen. The Chinese Threats in the Quantum Era study, published only last month by the technology consultant Booz Allen Hamilton, warns of the danger of Chinese forces acquiring high-value data and decrypting it once quantum computers are able to break traditional encryption. China’s threat groups are predicted to gather data that will allow quantum simulators to uncover new commercially important minerals, drugs and chemicals as early as the end of the decade.
Because of this, businesses must have technology in place that protects their data from both current and future threats. When quantum technology is used, they may rest comfortable that their data will be secure, but how do they get started?
How can quantum-safe technology be put into practise?
Numerous high-tech businesses have been creating a variety of quantum-safe solutions, including quantum key cryptography (QKC) and post-quantum algorithms. These employ quantum mechanics principles to encrypt and transport data in a manner that cannot be hacked, and they’ve been around for years. As a result, many of these service providers will upgrade their security measures to remain ahead of the danger posed by quantum computing, alleviating the burden of upgrading to quantum-safe solutions off their clients. For this reason, organisations must make certain that the communication channels they employ are ‘enterprise-grade,’ meaning they are secure and reliable. Using consumer applications, which lack proper security for government communications and might jeopardise the systems already in place, is something that must be strictly prohibited for workers.
A more effective defence against the quantum danger is already available on certain specialised secure communication systems. Such systems might be classified as “quantum-annoying” since a quantum computer would have to work significantly harder to decode them than a platform with ordinary security encryption. The MLS IETF working group (which includes the likes of Oxford University, Facebook, INRIA, Google, Twitter, and Wire) is currently developing an essential protocol called Messaging Layer Security (MLS), which seems poised to offer an important base for quantum resistant technology. For the first time, an end-to-end encryption protocol for big groups has been developed, which breaks with the current paradigm of a server-centric design that is popular in the majority of collaboration applications today. As a result, the integration of MLS into collaboration platforms will be a significant step in safeguarding data from the existential danger posed by quantum computing.
To sum up, quantum computing has the potential to revolutionise a wide range of industries, but it is imperative that businesses take steps now to ensure that their private data is safe. Their employees must use only “enterprise-grade” platforms, and they must work with technology professionals who can help them guarantee that their data is protected and that the advancements in technology do not compromise their security and privacy.