“Quantum Computing Will Break Your Encryption in a Few Years”

(Jon Gold, Network World, 20 March 2019)

“Most cyber attacks target different parts of the security stack these days – unwary users in particular. Yet this stalwart building block of present-day computing is about to be eroded by the advent of quantum computing within the next decade, according to experts”.

According to Mark Jackson, scientific lead for Cambridge Quantum Computing, “about 99% of online encryption is vulnerable to quantum computers”. To represent information, classical, or electronic, computers use electrical bits, while quantum computers (QCs) employ quantum entanglement and superposition principles. Thus QCs are much quicker in performing certain kinds of calculations than the electronic ones. Experts at the IQT conference believe QCs to achieve the most deployment by 2024. Lawrence Gasman, President of IQT, reckons that the forces that drive development of quantum computing (QC) and quantum security (QS) technology are pure science, the military, and the financial sector. So, the financial sector motivation is stopping huge amounts of money from being stolen due to credit card fraud. It will be necessary to shift either to different types of classical encryption which is resistant to QC or to QS. Employed in QS, quantum entanglement allows to both parties share identical cipher key. If a third party intrudes, the entangled pairs symmetry will be broken, thus revealing the discrepancy. Paul Lucier, VP at Isara, reckons that the date of shift to QC will vary across industries. So, short usage devices (smartphones) are not in immediate danger as QS should be sufficiently miniaturized by the time quantum code breaking becomes powerful enough. However, such long-life and expensive services as automotive industry and the infrastructure sector are more vulnerable. The National Quantum Initiative Act became law in December 2018. The IQT conference experts recommend companies to prepare for the QC no later than by 2026.

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