Quantum computing is no longer just a distant hypothetical, as developers are bringing it closer to becoming a practical reality. It’s an exciting new technological frontier — but one that brings with it a host of new risks to contend with.
The prospect of quantum computing power in malevolent hands threatens status quo cryptography, and it’s forcing a transformation in cybersecurity that has organizations shoring up their defenses for the inevitable arrival of “Q-Day.”
The Quantum Threat and its Impact on Cybersecurity
The current data encryption that is used to protect digital communications is based on mathematical functions that secure data from tampering. The widely-used RSA is public key encryption, which requires each message to use two keys — the sender uses a public key to encrypt the data, while the recipient uses a private key kept secret to decrypt it. This type of encryption is extremely difficult for today’s computers to crack.
Quantum computers leverage the laws of quantum physics and quantum mechanics, using “quantum bits” (qubits) rather than binary bits to achieve capabilities that far exceed those of classic computers. As soon as quantum computers become viable, their much higher levels of computing power and speed will be able to break current public key cryptographic algorithms quickly and with ease. A quantum computer in the hands of adversaries would threaten national security and critical infrastructure like never before.
The kind of devastation and disruption quantum computing would have on current cryptography and thus on government and private sector functioning must of course be avoided at all costs, and that’s why a transformation in cybersecurity has already begun.
Post-quantum cryptography is being developed to secure systems against these inevitable quantum threats, using quantum-proof encryption algorithms.
Quantum key distribution (QKD) is another emerging solution, leveraging the same laws of quantum physics as quantum computing itself to ensure secure key distribution that cannot be intercepted.
Businesses are already preparing by making cybersecurity a business priority. Nomura Group is one such company, having created a global organization structure to test quantum cryptography technology with the goal of strengthening data security in the post-quantum era.
Organizations are also being proactive by beginning to implement already available quantum-resistant solutions that will allow them to be crypto-agile, and less vulnerable to future attacks.
In August, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a guide urging critical infrastructure stakeholders to take action now in preparation for the transition to the post-quantum cryptography standard the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will publish in 2024.
CISA’s warning comes after a cybersecurity bill was introduced in the Senate in July that would require federal agencies to implement updates to their defenses against quantum threats.
The trend is clear — the quantum threat is indeed a serious reality that is transforming cybersecurity. Critical infrastructure, business, and government leaders would do well to be proactive with security risk assessments followed by a pivot to best available countermeasures before malicious quantum computing reaches critical mass.
Your Guide Through the Cybersecurity Transformation
Alongside the quantum revolution comes a cybersecurity revolution — with existing encryption protocols soon to be obsolete, organizations must act strategically to mitigate the associated risks.
Theon Technology is transforming data security for organizations with next-generation products focused on providing viable, revolutionary quantum-resistant encryption for both data in flight and at rest.
Our game-changing software solution delivers a road map that will set new standards for establishing highly scalable random number generation and deliver, for the first time, a commercially viable One Time Pad (OTP).
Our patented methodologies comprise a best-in-class, forward-looking cryptography solution that is guiding companies through an essential paradigm shift on the road to perfect secrecy.
A transformation in cybersecurity is upon us — Contact a Theon expert to find out how you can update your organization’s defenses to protect against quantum threats today. We also have free eBooks available for download, including Cryptography’s End, which preps you with an understanding of the end of cryptography as we know it and why quantum-proof encryption is so critical to the future of cybersecurity.