When technology heavyweights like Google, IBM, Honeywell and Microsoft throw their quantum computing hats into the ring, you know that a technological arms race is already underway. Now, while quantum computing could add immense value to the world’s digital economy, it also has the potential to cause harm to its interconnected systems, devices and data. It is this particular implication that is being felt very strongly in cybersecurity communities all over the world. And that’s why the excitement of this cutting-edge technology is also tempered with a good amount of trepidation – and rightly so.
Quantum computing can break the encryption that digital infrastructure relies on
Today’s enterprises depend on RSA encryption to keep their digital ecosystems and data safe. RSA is built on the principles of public key exchange and ‘prime factorization’, a computationally difficult mathematical problem that today’s ‘classical’ computers are not equipped to break. The current standard recommended key length for an RSA encryption key is 2048 bits, which represents an extremely large number of possible keys and a virtually unbreakable cryptography system that has kept enterprise systems safe – so far. But the massive computational muscle of a sufficiently powerful quantum computer tomorrow will break what today’s classical computers cannot do for billions of years.
And when this happens, businesses will find it impossible to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their transactions. This would be an especially serious concern for organizations generating and storing huge quantities of sensitive data for longer time periods. Their adversaries and criminals will be able to steal this data and raise questions about the validity of their digital identities. Moreover, people will not be able to trust the data they share with the business, even if it is encrypted – an eventuality that will affect their reputations and endanger their continuing survival.
How can businesses resist the quantum threat?
Efforts are underway to develop stronger public-key algorithms that could resist the code-breaking capabilities of tomorrow’s quantum computers. The U.S. NIST is evaluating dozens of new methods collectively referred to as Quantum-safe or Post–quantum Cryptography (PQC). However, this name itself is problematic because it implies that PQC methods are the strongest bulwarks against future quantum attacks, when this is not true at all. Another so-called ‘promising’ approach, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), where quantum methods are used by the sender and receiver to establish a symmetric key, is also being touted as a means of quantum-safe communications with ‘unconditional security’.
One serious problem with these two so-called quantum-safe methods is that they can only work over shorter distances and require the set up of special hardware. In this case, ‘special’ means ‘massively expensive’. It also means vulnerable to attack, thus giving the lie to the claim about ‘unconditional security’. Another issue – the data transfer speeds possible with these methods are also severely limited, which then limits their practical applicability for real-world enterprises. Finally, the mass manufacturing low-cost QKD or PQC hardware that can scale up to meet the needs of growing businesses is nowhere close to happening (if ever).
So is there a way for quantum risk-aware businesses to keep themselves safe today from the approaching quantum threat? Yes there is, and it’s available right now: Quantum Entropy Expansion and Propagation (QEEP™) from Quantropi. This proprietary technology provides a robust and truly quantum-safe solution that can guarantee the safety of business systems and data unlike PQC or QKD. QEEP™ requires no new hardware set-up or time-consuming transitions. It is super-fast, energy-efficient and affordable too. Best of all, it can scale up as an organization grows, offering the technological agility and flexibility that are as important to businesses as true quantum protection. To know more about this cutting-edge solution to protect your business from quantum threats, get in touch by using the “Let’s Talk Button”.