What Are The Differences between Classical, Quantum and Post-Quantum Cryptography?

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In early 2020, there were 4.7 billion Internet users worldwide, a staggering 1,187% growth over just two decades. Furthermore, our increasing reliance on Internet-powered technologies generates massive amounts of data (44 zettabytes at the start of 2020 – that’s 1 followed by 21 zeroes!)

Much of this data contains ‘sensitive’ information that needs to be encrypted. Many encryption methods are used to ensure that this data can only be accessed by authorized users in possession of ‘encryption keys’.

But are these ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ methods truly effective at keeping data encrypted and safe?

What differentiates Classical Cryptography (CC) from newer Quantum Cryptography (QC)?

And finally, do we need Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC)? Why?

Classical and Quantum Cryptography: The Differences

In general, the purpose of both Classical Cryptography and Quantum Cryptography (also known as quantum security or quantum encryption) is to encrypt data, and ensure its security, integrity and authenticity. But there are several differences between the two approaches.

First, CC is based on intractable mathematical puzzles that are unsolvable on a classical computer for billions of years. These puzzles include large number factorization and discrete logarithms. It is their intractable nature that  prevents unauthorized users from eavesdropping on encrypted messages in a CC-protected system. QC however, is based on Physics and relies on the properties of Quantum Mechanics for data security. Interestingly, PQC (covered in the next section), takes a similar approach as CC by extending the latter’s property of intractability to quantum computers. In other words, it builds on Math puzzles believed to be intractable even by quantum computers to provide secure communications.

In CC, the communicating parties share a secret sequence of random numbers or a ‘key’. So the security of the method depends on the secrecy of the key, leaving it vulnerable to security loopholes. QC harnesses the unpredictable nature of matter at the quantum level (‘qubits’) to encrypt and decrypt messages, and guarantee more secure communication.

Two commonly-used  methods for Advanced CC are Data Encryption Standard (AES) and Public Key Cryptography (PKC). In the former, the key consists of a randomly-chosen, long string of bits which determines the security of the communication channel. With the latter approach, each user has two keys: public and private, each of which does only half of the encryption/decryption process. The numbers created by the combination of the key and the encoding can reach staggering proportions, adding to the system’s complexity and cost. Moreover, with exponential increases in computing power and the encroaching approach of quantum computing, these numerical keys are no longer able to provide truly secure communication. Unlike CC methods, QC provides ways for users to securely establish secret keys and detect eavesdropping if it occurs. Therefore, it can protect data in ways that current encryption methods – some of which have been around for over two decades – can’t.

The best-known example of QC today, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) makes it possible for parties to share data in secure, unbreakable, eavesdropper-safe ways.

Post-Quantum Cryptography: Quantropi Leads The Way With QEEP™

In the not-too-distant future, QC algorithms will likely break many of the encryption protocols that today’s networks and information security depends on. This will endanger data and make organisations, governments and individuals vulnerable to data theft and misuse. To prepare for this new era of quantum computing, many governments are promoting the development of Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC).

But the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has expressed scepticism  about the promised benefits of these technologies, including maths-based PQC algorithms, physics-based Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG) and even QKD. At Quantropi, we think this scepticism is warranted. We believe that to stay ahead of the fast-approaching QC curve, and to protect their communication networks, customers and users, organisations and governments need to deploy next-generation PQC solutions.

Quantropi’s unique Quantum Entropy Expansion and Propagation (QEEP™) is a secure application of the logical implementation of n-qubit quantum permutation gates. QEEP™ offers quantum-secure random key exchange, making information uninterpretable over unlimited distances. Plus, it works with existing infrastructure and offers scalable security to accommodate growing network bandwidth demands.

Protect your organisation and ensure quantum-safe communication with QEEP™. To know more, contact an authorized Quantropi representative today.

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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. 

Christopher McKenzie

With his extensive experience in software development and strong analytical skills, Chris can handle the entire end-to-end software development life cycle. Prior to Quantropi, he served as Director of Product Development at Sphyrna Security, Inc., where he managed the delivery of security compliance automation and data diode appliance products, and as Commercial Software Development Manager at Cord3, Inc., where he managed the development of an advanced data access policy management product. Chris graduated from Computer Science at Algonquin College and the Ottawa School of Arts in 1998. Read less

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.

Raj is a seasoned technology executive who has worked with companies as an advisor, business builder and active angel investor. Raj is a seasoned technology executive who has worked with companies as an advisor, business builder and active angel investor. He 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. He has been dividing his time between North America, EMEA, and the Asia Pacific region for over 20 years and speaks multiple languages. He grew up in Asia, Europe, South America and Canada. Raj is also the co-founder and Charter Member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE (the Indus Entrepreneur). Raj holds a B.Eng degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada.

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 Monster.com, 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.