Are Hackers Stealing Data Now to Crack Later?

anonymous person sitting at computer | Quantropi
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Quantum computers promise to be unimaginably more powerful than traditional computers. As a point of reference, quantum computers could find the prime factors of a 2048-bit number in . A classical computer would take millions of years to do the same.

This has huge implications for the cybersecurity industry. The security of many modern cryptographic algorithms relies on the extreme difficulty of finding the prime factors of large numbers. This task is virtually impossible for current-day computers, but quantum computers will be able to tackle it with ease.

Quantum computing may seem distant and unworthy of our attention now, but cybersecurity experts and even the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. government is becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of hackers stealing data now to crack it later.

The “Harvest Now to Crack Later” Strategy

According to Dustin Moody, a mathematician at NIST, adversaries and nation-states are likely stealing and holding on to data until they can crack it later with quantum computers. Governments are aware of the threat of a “keep to crack later” strategy. They’re taking even the slightest chance of this strategy being real very seriously and are working hard to develop quantum-safe algorithms.

Now, why would need to worry about a threat that’s possibly quite a few years away? What’s the big issue with hackers stealing data now?

The answer is as follows – some types of data will remain valuable for businesses and governments even after the quantum threat enters the game. Today, if encrypted, leaked data will most likely stay safe because hackers will not be able to crack it with brute-force methods. No classical computer has enough power to try all the possible keys for industry-standard encryption systems in an achievable time span.

But imagine what happens when a malicious group somehow gets access to a quantum computer. It might be a crude, barely working prototype, but if given just enough time, it might be able to effortlessly punch through your cryptographic defenses.

The result is simple yet catastrophic– all your secrets that you assumed were safe would come into the possession of hackers.

What Types of Data Can Have Long-Term Value for Hackers?

Certain types of data require prolonged, secured storage – for years and even decades. It’s this sort of data that might interest the more farsighted bad actors and nation-states. This might include our private, personal data – driver’s license numbers, social insurance numbers, wills and estates, financial or investment details – highly classified government secrets – nuclear codes, military plans, scientific research and discoveries, power grids – to company secrets – financial projections, new product development, trade secrets, software source code, and more.

These kinds of data must be protected in the long run because they can have long-lasting business value. Not only that, but some forms of data in some industries – like healthcare – must be safeguarded in a manner outlined by regulations and standards.

If you fail to protect business-critical data, you will lose any sort of competitiveness you’ve had in your industry. And what is arguably much worse, you may face legal consequences for data breaches and leaks.

Low Data Storage Costs Enhance the Threat

Data storage is NOT costly. In fact, annual storage costs per terabyte of data arethe lowest they have ever been. Certainly insignificant for a nation-state or a well-funded and sophisticated bad actor. Storage costs used to be seen as a possible deterrent to Steal Now Crack Later – now, however, it seems as if it’s an incentive.

Quantum-Secure Your Data Today, Forever

We can’t tell for sure if bad actors are indeed stealing data that they can’t crack yet. But we should assume it’s happening and take urgent steps to protect our personal information, company information, and our state secrets, TODAY.

If you want to ensure the long-term protection of your data, you should start thinking about quantum threats today. Reinforcing your current cybersecurity measures with quantum-safe encryption is a great place to begin.

Without assistance, building a quantum-proof infrastructure can be extremely challenging.

Quantropi can help you determine where you are now and what you should do to protect your assets tomorrow. Powered by our patented TrUE technologies, our QiSpace™ platform can help you seamlessly transition your infrastructure to quantum technology. Try QiSpace™ and get access to quantum entropy as a service and quantum-secure symmetric encryption that’s 18x faster than AES-256. Both can be easily and rapidly integrated into any new or existing application.

Contact us today to learn more about our quantum cybersecurity services.

Quantum-secure any application, product, network, or device with the QiSpace™ platform — without having to sacrifice performance or make major investments in new technology or infrastructure. See for yourself how only QiSpace™ offers TrUE quantum security via all three essential cryptographic functions. Leverage asymmetric encryption algorithms (the “Trust” or “Tr” of “TrUE”) via MASQ™, symmetric encryption (“U” for “Uncertainty”) via QEEP™ and strong random numbers (“E” for “Entropy”) via SEQUR™.  Make it TrUE with QiSpace™ — and protect your business, brand, and customer promise. Now and forever. 

To learn more about our quantum-secure solutions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts!

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Eric Chan

Eric Chan a.k.a. EEPMON is a Crypto / Digital Artist with 15 years in the industry – and Quantropi’s Creative Emissary. His hybrid fractal/digital creations have been seen in fashion, comics to museums and has exhibited worldwide. EEPMON’s collaborations include Canada Goose, MARVEL, Snoopy, Microsoft Xbox, Canada Science & Technology Museum and was a TEDx performing artist. In 2018 he represented Canada on its first Creative Industries Trade Mission led by Canada’s Minister of Heritage and serves on the Canadian Museums Association‘s Board of Directors. At the same time, he is currently completing his Master of Information Technology – Digital Media at Carleton University. 

Dafu Lou

Dafu is Quantropi’s Director of engineering. Prior to Quantropi, he served as a technical leader at Irdeto, a world-leading provider of digital platform security software, where he was responsible for white-box cryptography, cloaked CA secure core, and iOS/android application protection services, among others. Prior to Irdeto, Dafu served as a senior software engineer at SecureNex Systems, where he led the implementation of an SSL-VPN solution and ECC-based secure data storage & PKI. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa in 2009. Dafu is also a part-time professor, teaching VLSI, Cryptography and other subjects at uOttawa.

Pauline Arnold

As James Nguyen’s EA, Pauline Arnold brings more than 40 years of experience in complementary customer service and administrative roles. Prior to Quantropi, she served 20 years as Branch Manager and an assistant in investments, and over 20 years at Metropolitan Life Canada in various aspects of the insurance sector – assisting clients, management and colleagues to complete tasks, solve problems, address questions and achieve goals. She also worked part-time for Royal Lepage Performance for 5+ years as a receptionist & admin, and for 5 years was chair of the TKFG’s charity golf tournament.

Bond Vo

Bond Vo is the Business Analyst of Quantropi. Along with Quantropi, Bond has been dynamic in accordance with a fast and evolving startup environment and is responsible in a wide range of areas including market research, funding, and more involved in the controller roles to oversee day to day accounting operation as well as build financing models and budget to achieve company’s ultimate goals/objectives. Bond has applied best practices consistently and successfully supports equity, debt, and non-dilutive funding for Quantropi since joint the team. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce concentrated in Finance from Carleton University. Outside of his professional career, Bond also participated in volunteer for the Vietnamese Immigration Student Association (VISA) to help and support students as well as newcomers in Canada.

Tina Wang

Tina develops websites and participates in a range of different projects, using new frameworks for front-end UI, along with Vuejs, Angula, Beego, Ruby on Rails, and Electron. She developed Quantropi’s desktop CipherSpace application by integrating Electron, Webassembly and Go, to ensure a good user experience, as well as perfect operating system compatibility. She is also part of the dynamic and efficient QKD-NODE project team. Tina is always looking for new ways to increase her knowledge, improve her technological proficiency and enhance her strong execution and implementation skills. Prior to Quantropi, Tina served as a full-stack web developer at Sunny Future, where she maintained a WordPress home site and managed the release of new content for the company.

Nick Kuang

As VP Corporate Services, Nick plans, directs and coordinates a wide range of activities aimed at achieving Quantropi’s vision of the Quantum Internet. He has a keen interest in transformative technologies and the possibilities they offer for bettering our everyday lives. A pharmacist by training, Nick nurtures teams with a focus on integrity and collaborative effort, coupled with strong attention to detail. With prior experience in a successful biotech start-up developing point-of-care test kits, he enjoys the fast pace and challenge of the start-up environment.

Alex He

Alex is a product-oriented project manager who bridges the gaps between the company’s engineering and commercial teams. He has over ten years of experience in the analysis, design and development of enterprise-class applications, with a particular focus on creating optimal user experiences (UX). Ever passionate about cybersecurity solutions that can deliver solid security without unreasonably sacrificing customer convenience, Alex is the lead inventor of a registered patent on user interface security. He is committed to helping ensure that the Agile software engineering team at Quantropi delivers consistently high-quality, high crypto-agility cybersecurity solutions for next-generation communications.

Michael Redding

Before joining Quantropi, Mike was Managing Director and co-founder of Accenture Ventures, where he grew a global portfolio of strategic partnerships and 38 equity investments in emerging technology startups.

During his nearly 30 years with Accenture, he incubated and launched technology innovations for enterprises across multiple geographies and industries. Ever-passionate about bold ideas with game-changing results, he speaks frequently on the impact of emerging technology on large organizations.

With a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton, and a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern, Mike is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Accenture Foundation and Board Observer for startups Maana and Splice Machine.

Raj Narula, P.Eng.

A seasoned technology executive, business builder and angel investor, Raj has held operational and advisory roles in Recognia (Trading Central), Belair Networks (Ericsson), March Networks (Infinova), Sandvine (Procera), Neurolanguage (ADEC), Bridgewater Systems (Amdocs), Vayyoo (Cafex), TenXc (CCI), 1Mobility (Qualys) and others. Having divided his time among North America, EMEA and Asia-Pac for over 20 years, Raj speaks several languages. He grew up in Asia, Europe, South America and Canada, and holds a B.Eng degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. He is also a co-founder and Charter Member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE (the Indus Entrepreneur).

Ken Dobell

Ken leads marketing strategy at Quantropi. In high demand as a consultant with 25 years’ experience in performance media and an award- winning creative background, he has completed successful transformations, (re)branding and product development mandates with KPMG, Keurig, Fidelity, Eddyfi, Coveo, and more, and provides digital advice to the CMA. Previously, Ken pivoted an offline advertising brokerage to a leading-edge, data-driven performance agency as President of DAC Digital, held a progression of international leadership roles with, pioneered a range of multi-channel initiatives as VP Marketing with a global franchisor, and introduced a mobile-first programmatic media offering to Canada within WPP.

Cory Michalyshyn

Cory brings a breadth of experience to the Quantropi team, working fractionally with multiple SaaS technology companies as CFO, and as the CFO with Celtic House Venture Partners. Prior to these roles, Cory was CFO and COO at Solink, and played a lead role in the metrics-led pivot to a direct-sales SaaS model, followed by multiple VC-backed funding rounds and their recognition as one of the fastest growing start-ups in Canada. He qualified as a CPA while serving technology, VC & PE-fund clients at Deloitte, and earned his Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University.

Dr. Randy Kuang

Randy holds a doctorate in quantum physics. His research findings have been published in top international journals and named “Kuang’s semi-classical formalism” by NASA in 2012. With a career spanning IT, including with Nortel as senior network researcher & developer, he co-founded inBay Technologies in 2009, serving as CTO of the cybersecurity platform. As the first recipient of a patent for two-level authentication (2011), Randy is a prolific inventor, with 30+ U.S. patents in broad technology fields, such as WiMAX, optical networks, multi-factor identity authentication, transaction authorization, as well as concepts, technologies and industrial applications for quantum key distribution.

James Nguyen

Prior to leading Quantropi, James was Chief Investment Officer & VP Asia Operations for a group of private and public real estate, mining, energy storage, graphene technologies and manufacturing interests, where, in his responsibilities for strategy, banking and global expansions, he secured large-scale investments and partnerships for commercializing graphene applications across multiple industries. A graduate of Carleton in Economics, he previously achieved success managing a mid-market portfolio (professional services, public sector, Asian markets) at RBC for over a decade. James has been on the HKCBA board, held advisory positions with technology start-ups and gives back as volunteer, fundraiser and mentor.