Quantum computing is still an emerging field that is a number of years away from widespread commercial use, but examples of applications can already be seen in a variety of industries.
Case in point, the financial sector, where organizations are considering the potential of quantum technology, including its potential in the wrong hands, for which new and more robust encryption solutions will be necessary. Read on to learn more about why financial organizations are adapting their encryption methods to the One Time Pad and quantum encryption.
Financial Data Security Challenges and the Quantum Threat
Financial organizations routinely handle sensitive client and transactional data. What’s more, this data is required by regulators to be stored over a period of several years or even decades, making it critical that it remain properly secured. With the inevitable arrival of quantum computing, however, the data encryption methods that have been relied upon for years will be rendered useless in this regard.
Today’s encryption algorithms rely on complex mathematical problems that are too difficult for classical computers to solve in any reasonable amount of time, but what would take a classical computer a thousand years to solve, a quantum computer could crack in seconds. Bad actors can record and store encrypted financial information today, and then decrypt it once the quantum processing power becomes available.
The implications of these inherent vulnerabilities in current public-key cryptography are unsettling to say the least. With a viable quantum computer in malicious hands, security protocols for financial transactions made via the Internet will be easily defeated, financial communications jeopardized, critical banking infrastructure undermined.
Beyond the challenges of the very real quantum threat, there is the issue of data not being properly encrypted — when a single key is used to protect all records within a database, and when plaintext is stored right alongside encrypted data, data is easily made public and accessed with ease. Some of these keys are generated with inadequate entropy, containing invisible, embedded patterns susceptible to exposure. Add to that the continuous advances in mathematics and the increasingly sophisticated attack methods by cybercriminals, and it is clear new solutions are required.
That’s why financial organizations are looking to adapt their merely “sufficient” and often vulnerable encryption methods to ones that provide better data security now, and for the future.
The One Time Pad — An Unbeatable Security Standard
For maximum information security it makes sense to look to the best, the gold standard, the uncrackable. The only cryptographic model ever deemed absolutely impregnable is the One Time Pad.
The unbeatable security of the One Time Pad relies on four critical attributes:
- Randomness – the OTP key must contain no discernible repeating patterns
- Key Size – the OTP key must be of equal size to the data it’s protecting
- Uniqueness – the OTP key must only be used one time, to encrypt one item of data
- Secrecy – the OTP key must be kept secret
Properly executed, with single-use keys that are genuinely random, unique, and secret, OTP neutralizes quantum threats and enables encryption that is impossible to breach.
OTP improves on status quo and older protocols like RSA and DES. 3DES (triple data encryption standard), dating from 1998, was a previous attempt to improve on these, and for a time became the go-to solution in credit card transactions and other finance and payment scenarios, but in the wake of a rapidly evolving digital and technological landscape, it too is now considered weak and outdated.
Part of what makes the One Time Pad so perfectly secure is the vast size of its keys — only by knowing the entire key, every character from start to finish, can lead to decryption. But this same feature is what has made it impractical for commercial adoption. New SaaS solutions are emerging, however, that solve for this drawback, adapting OTP for the commercial enterprise.
With an OTP-inspired encryption solution, the bandwidth to support OTP key transmission can be reduced, decreasing the volume of data needing to be managed and communicated. The cryptographic model is symmetric, leveraging a unique private key for both encryption and decryption, and encrypting each unique piece of data with a different, unique key. Once paired with a complementary third-party key management solution, it becomes easy to retire the practice of storing decryption keys in proximity with the data they’re protecting. With software-based, high entropy OTP key generation, processing power can be adjusted as needed, adding flexibility and conserving resources while supporting effective cryptography.
The financial sector is subject to a $5.97 million average cost of a breach, higher than any other industry — 35% more in fact. And financial data is always a prized target. With the arrival of quantum computing, the fallout will only increase if financial organizations don’t prepare now. By beginning to implement OTP-inspired quantum-resistant encryption, companies can mitigate the threats of both classical and quantum computers and ensure sensitive financial information remains protected now, and well into the quantum age.
A Next-Generation OTP Encryption Solution for Financial Organizations
Financial organizations certainly stand to benefit from some of the advantages of quantum computing, but the wise ones will also be proactive about mitigating the risks involved when it comes to information security.
Theon Technology has been working for more than a decade to generate a next-generation solution to the encryption challenges of today and tomorrow. Our patented methodologies help protect against the impending quantum compute threats with a focus on data sovereignty, data security, and data compression, providing a software approach supporting multiple deployment models, and a product that delivers true One Time Pad (OTP) encryption at enterprise scale.
Theon employs an advanced mathematical equation to propagate truly random, high-entropy cryptographic keys at scale. Our breakthrough key creation and storage solution addresses the biggest issue with OTP — unwieldy key size. It’s the highest level of digital encryption that is practical for widespread enterprise deployment.
Financial organizations have a responsibility to maintain the privacy of a significant volume of sensitive information — and with the best available quantum-resistant encryption solutions in place, companies can increase resilience to threats, securing investments, pensions, transactions, accounts, holdings, private and public assets with rigorous integrity.
The time is now to begin the transition to more secure encryption methods — Contact a Theon expert today to start taking advantage of scalable One Time Pad encryption for your organization. We also have free eBooks available for download, including our OTP primer, Adapting OTP for the Enterprise.