Should we be worried about a quantum future?
If you have seen the new Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania movie, you may have caught a glimpse of the quantum realm.
A beautiful sub atomic world, beyond our own, full of mystery organisms and unknown threats.
Stuff of wonderous imagination.
Well, here comes the science bit.
The quantum realm does technically exist in real life.
It’s not something you or I could travel to using magic, quantum tunnel or Pym Particles.
According to quantum physicist Dr Sumanta Tewari, “it’s a place where the laws of quantum mechanics are valid”, which means we are all technically in the quantum realm, now.
Sadly, Dr Tewari adds that it is impossible to for us to communicate between universes, unless we could “break some fundamental laws of physics.”
But looking closer at quantum physics, according to quantum theory, particles have a probability of being in multiple places at once.
This is the area of computer science that is key, when we are talking about quantum computers.
Years ago, even decades, quantum computing was also in the realm of science fiction. Now quantum computing is just on the horizon — it may only be a five-year estimate, but its distant approach seemingly puts off the day of reckoning for some.
Nonetheless. If someone in a position of authority asks, “should we be worried about a quantum computing future?” – then it would be prudent to start investigating and understanding what’s ahead, so you don’t get caught off guard.
We are not talking about multiverses anymore, but let’s look a little closer at what quantum computing means for the future of data security.
And if quantum computers are built and available in the next few years, how can we better protect our data from being hacked?
Can we rely on today’s encryption?
Encryption is a crucial part of our digital lives; it protects our data from hackers and ensures that only those authorised to see your private information can access it. But if readily available quantum computers become reality sometime soon, this could change forever.
Quantum computing is a real threat to classified data as, with the right decryption algorithms, it would be able to crack even today’s strongest encryption rapidly, and will be able to break even advanced encryption techniques in the future.
If you share intellectual property (IP) or sensitive data that is encrypted and sent over a computer network today, the encrypted traffic can be monitored by a bad actor, such as a criminal gang or nation state. They can record and save your encrypted transmissions until a powerful quantum computer becomes commercially available. They would then have the potential to decrypt and read your original information. This is what is known as a ‘store now and decrypt later’ attack.
We need to start thinking about how to protect data in the future.
Quantum computing is expected to enable significant breakthroughs in fields like artificial intelligence, medicine, materials science and finance. The potential for innovation is astounding.
However, the security of everything from web browsing, email, financial transactions, online shopping, and even cryptocurrency, could be put at risk.
What’s more, as we move towards a future of smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and the inevitable physical-digital integration of the next industrial revolution, the ability for quantum computers to facilitate malicious activity becomes increasingly apparent.
In blunt terms, current encryption is in essence, already outdated.
And today’s communication devices are vulnerable.
Quantum-safe encryption is needed now to protect our business and critical industrial devices.
Worrying and hiding from the quantum realm, I mean quantum computers, is not an option.
Quantum computing is coming, and it promises to change the world. But quantum technology will create its own unique set of challenges.
The recommendation is not to wait until the technology is here, but for companies to plan and level up their security provisions as soon as possible, before they become obsolete.
For more information
The team at CyberHive are at the forefront of quantum-safe cryptography and are developing solutions across several business and industrial applications.
Contact our specialist team at [email protected] to learn more about how to transition from legacy encryption algorithms to quantum-safe standards.
Image credit: Marvel.com (Ant-Man and The Wasp: Qauntumania, Feb 2023)
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