The time is now to prepare for quantum computing threats

Quantum computing is the next evolution in computing. It is going to change everything. But when will quantum computers become a threat to your cyber security defences?

How can quantum computers pose a threat?

Today’s computer cryptography uses mathematical equations (algorithms) and secret keys to encrypt and decrypt data transmissions over a computer network or the Internet. These algorithms are secure enough against decryption attempts using traditional computers. Quantum computers are much more powerful and problems that would take a traditional computer billions of years to solve, can be solved by a quantum computer in minutes.

The situation also changed last week when IBM announced a new breakthrough in hardware and software that outlines the path towards quantum supercomputing. The new IBM Osprey processor has a qubit count of 433, making it the largest of any IBM quantum processor and more than triple the power of its predecessor – the IBM Eagle, which was only unveiled in 2021.

This makes quantum computing a real threat to your classified data as, with the right decryption algorithms, it would be able to crack all but the strongest encryption in rapidly and will be able to break even those advanced encryption techniques in the future.

Why do I need to do something now?

If you share intellectual property (IP) or sensitive data over a computer network, it 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 traffic. A ‘record and replay’ attack.
Most classified data have a shelf life of around 15 years. And with some experts predicting that quantum computers are only about seven years away – you can see the problem.

Organisation and businesses need to start preparing for quantum safe cryptography today to be ready before the first bad actors have access to quantum computers.

Today, quantum computers are not readily available or cheap enough for most commercial applications or criminal gangs, but would you even know if a nation state had one available to them right now?

 

What can I do now to minimise the risk?

Your IP is valuable and can help you reach new customers, scale your business, and grow your bottom line. There are several things that your company can do right now to minimise risk in the quantum era.


The first thing you need to do is assess where the risk lies within your company—are there certain files or emails that could be accessed by someone who is not authorised? What happens if a hacker gets hold of them? What information could they glean from these documents that would be useful in their own business ventures? If there are, then you need to start planning to only transmit these when they have been encrypted using quantum-safe cryptography.

Starting to educate and prepare is another fantastic way to achieve protection against the threat posed by quantum computers in the hands of adversaries. This can be achieved through strategising with technologists, senior leaders and cyber security experts supported by the right classical and quantum-safe cryptography solutions. Starting these discussions, combined with educating senior leaders now, might have a significant impact on how your business will experience the transition towards the quantum era.

The need to address the threats posed by quantum computing is urgent, but you can mitigate against these threats to your business, and your customers, by taking the right actions now. 


If you are ready to get started, CyberHive are ready with solutions that provide quantum-safe cryptography.