To understand what quantum computing means for the future of cybersecurity, consider Ron Rivest.
The Problem with Algorithms
Few people on earth are more qualified in the field of cryptography than Rivest. A graduate of Stanford and Yale, he is the co-founder of RSA Security (one of the most influential security companies over the past few decades) and co-author of a standard textbook on algorithms. His parted brown hair, blue eyes, and a scruffy beard are instantly recognizable by industry regulars.
Basically, if Ron Rivest handed you a cryptographic hash function and said, “use this”, you would – and you’d feel safe knowing it came from one of the great minds of our time.
MD4 – his first model designed for modern Windows computers – wasn’t even out for a full year before two researchers cracked it. Just six months later he replaced MD4 with MD5, which proved to be a highly popular algorithm for protecting organizations’ data. Amazingly, the following year, those same two researchers found evidence that it, too, was vulnerable. In the time since, MD5’s flaws have enabled some of the worst cybersecurity incidents in world history: the hack of ashleymadison.com, the Flame malware, and more.
The lesson here isn’t that Ron Rivest is bad at writing hash functions. It’s that coming up with algorithms complex enough to stump modern, high-speed computers is really difficult. If you need more proof look at the “Secure Hash” or “SHA” family of hash functions.
The NSA writes SHAs, so you can be sure they’re best-in-class. They were first devised as part of the United States’ “Capstone” project, meaning they had legislation and funding behind them. But the first couple of iterations – SHA-0 and 1 (which were built off of Rivest’s work) – have been rendered insecure many years ago. Even industry standards SHA-256 and 512 have proven problematic.
The world will keep iterating existing functions forever but at some point, the game will no longer be winnable because the rules will have changed.
New Rules: Quantum Computing
Quantum computing uses the principles of quantum mechanics – foremost among them superposition – to create processors which can solve functions at an exponential rate compared to today’s fastest machines. The science beneath is complicated but suffice it to say even the strongest cryptographic algorithms ever conceived will be mincemeat to this stuff.
“The challenge is – as we saw with the shortest vector problem – quantum may solve them too because they’re big, they’re complicated, and they’re not well understood. And there may be gaps or weak points that have yet to be discovered or soon to be discovered.”– Quantropi CTO Michael Redding on classical algorithms.
For governments and enterprises, the problem with quantum computing is obvious – should an adversary gain control over a quantum computer, classical cyber protections will stand little chance against them. All systems, platforms, and data will be compromised. Even more urgent is that sensitive, encrypted data (by today’s standards) that is stolen today is at risk of being cracked and exposed when quantum computing arrives.
Fortunately, the solution is as obvious as the problem. To defend against a quantum cybersecurity threat, one must possess a quantum defense. Only quantum can take on quantum!
How do we use quantum against quantum?
“Simple analogy… Classical Algorithms [Boolean Algebra] are the Castle on a chessboard. They move linearly in one direction. Quantum Algorithms [Matrix Functions] are the Queen and can move in any direction and operate in two dimensions, and as a result, wield much more power. That’s the difference between Boolean Algebra and matrix functions. It’s great news because matrix functions can be represented as linear algebra which we can now express algorithmically. And that leads to the breakthrough at Quantropi around quantum-safe cybersecurity… quantum permutation matrices expressed as a linear algebra algorithm – what we call Quantum Entropy Expansion and Propagation or QEEP™.”– Redding on quantum cybersecurity.
At some point, better and more complex algorithms simply won’t be enough. Quantum computing is changing the rules of the cybersecurity game. We need to change with it, or risk getting blown out.
Quantropi is bound to be the standard for next-generation cybersecurity – true quantum safety you can count on today, and Perfect Secrecy you can trust forever, no matter what the future network, or threat. Our patented technology expresses quantum mechanics algorithmically to encrypt data in transit – without requiring the processing power of a quantum computer. This unique capability makes ours the first company in the world to offer true, secure transport of quantum keys over today’s Internet, allowing users to exchange quantum-encrypted data using their own existing platforms.
Learn more here.