CYBERSECURITY IN THE ERA OF QUANTUM COMPUTING
CYBERSECURITY IN THE ERA OF QUANTUM COMPUTING – Quantum computing is a rapidly-emerging technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers. They make use of qubit while classical computers make use of binary numbers. Much of today’s encryption is based on mathematical formulas that would take today’s computers an impractically long time to decode.
To simplify this, think of two large numbers, for example, and multiply them together. It’s easy to come up with the product, but much harder to start with the large number and factor it into its two prime numbers. A quantum computer, however, can easily factor those numbers and break the code. Peter Shor developed a quantum algorithm (aptly named Shor’s algorithm) that easily factors large numbers far more quickly than a classical computer. Since then, scientists have been working on developing quantum computers that can factor increasingly larger numbers.
Quantum computing has the potential to create immense business benefits, and the social implications of quantum technologies are likely to be far-reaching. By decade’s end, practical quantum computing solutions could impact computing strategies across industries. Over upcoming investment cycles, quantum computing will profoundly alter how we think of computing and, critically, how we secure our digital economy through cryptography.
quantum computing presents both opportunities and challenges for cybersecurity. While quantum computing could potentially be used to break existing encryption protocols, researchers are actively working to develop new encryption technologies that are resistant to quantum computing.
In addition, quantum computing could also be used to enhance cybersecurity in a variety of ways, including detecting and protecting against malicious attacks more quickly and accurately. As research into quantum computing progresses, it is likely that these technologies will become increasingly important for cybersecurity in the future.
WHAT IS QUANTUM COMPUTING?
Quantum computing is a cutting-edge field of computing that leverages the principles of quantum mechanics to perform computations. Unlike classical computers, which use bits that represent either 0 or 1, quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits. What sets qubits apart is their ability to exist in multiple states simultaneously due to a phenomenon known as superposition.
Superposition allows qubits to represent both 0 and 1 simultaneously, enabling quantum computers to process and analyze vast amounts of data in parallel. This characteristic grants quantum computers an inherent advantage in solving certain complex problems significantly faster than classical computers.
QUANTUM COMPUTING ERA
The current state of quantum computer systems is often referred to as the NISQ (noisy intermediate-scale quantum) era, characterized by quantum computers that offer moderate computing power and are still challenged by system fidelity. Current quantum computers are volatile and unstable, with error-correction for quantum calculations still being addressed.
it is apparent that in the near-term and further into the near-future, quantum computers will most likely be used as co-processors in hybrid systems in which classical computers will hand off mathematical calculations to the quantum computer as part of a larger system workflow that still heavily depends on classical computers.
The interface between classical and quantum computers in the hybrid computing environments typical of the NISQ-era is an area ripe for cybersecurity threats. This interface is literally the gateway between the classical and quantum environments, so it can serve as a conduit for known exploits of classical computers to traverse into quantum areas. In short, there are already many known cyber attack techniques for classical computers that can be leveraged to compromise a hybrid system.
QUANTUM COMPUTING AND CYBERSECURITY
As quantum computers will be developed there is need for an upgrade when it comes to cybersecurity due to the fact that the method of cryptography used in encryption of data via blockchain is not on par with quantum computers since it is for classical computers. If there isn’t cybersecurity for quantum computers, data could easily fall into the hands of hackers.
The advent of quantum computing will lead to changes to encryption methods. Currently, the most widely used asymmetric algorithms are based on difficult mathematical problems, such as factoring large numbers, which can take thousands of years on today’s most powerful supercomputers.
However, research conducted by Peter Shor at MIT more than 20 years ago demonstrated the same problem could theoretically be solved in days or hours on a large-scale quantum computer. Future quantum computers may be able to break asymmetric encryption solutions that base their security on integer factorization or discrete logarithms.
Although symmetric algorithms are not affected by Shor’s algorithm, the power of quantum computing necessitates a multiplication in key sizes. For example, large quantum computers running Grover’s algorithm, which uses quantum concepts to search databases very quickly, could provide a quadratic improvement in brute-force attacks on symmetric encryption algorithms, such as AES.
To help withstand brute-force attacks, key sizes should be doubled to support the same level of protection. For AES, this means using 256-bit keys to maintain today’s 128-bit security strength.
Even though large-scale quantum computers are not yet commercially available, initiating quantum cybersecurity solutions now has significant advantages. For example, a malicious entity can capture secure communications of interest today. Then, when large-scale quantum computers are available, that vast computing power could be used to break the encryption and learn about those communications.
Eclipsing its potential risks, quantum cybersecurity can provide more robust and compelling opportunities to safeguard critical and personal data than currently possible. It is particularly useful in quantum machine learning and quantum random number generation.
EFFECT OF QUANTUM COMPUTING IN CYBERSECURITY
As quantum computing technology rapidly advances, the potential threat to existing cybersecurity protocols is becoming increasingly clear. With quantum computing, cyberattacks are expected to become far more powerful and difficult to defend against. As such, it is incumbent upon organizations to begin researching and implementing measures to protect against quantum computing threats.
The most important step that organizations should take is to assess their current cybersecurity protocols and identify any potential vulnerabilities. This includes identifying any areas that may be vulnerable to quantum computing attacks and determining which protocols need to be updated. In addition, organizations should begin researching potential solutions to secure against quantum computing threats, such as quantum-resistant encryption algorithms, quantum key distribution protocols, and post-quantum authentication methods.
Organizations should also seek out any available resources or guidance from experts in the field. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is currently developing standards for quantum-resistant cryptography, and a number of universities, including MIT and UC Berkeley, are researching potential solutions to secure against quantum computing threats. Additionally, organizations should consider investing in quantum computing research to better understand the potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.
The threat of quantum computing is significant and organizations must take proactive steps to protect themselves. By assessing their current cybersecurity protocols, researching potential solutions, and seeking out expert guidance, organizations can better prepare themselves to secure against quantum computing threats.