Quantum Computing Cyber Security Threats and Alternative Precautions
Quantum Computing Cyber Security Threats and Alternative Precautions
August 30, 2023, 10 min read
Table of Contents
Physics and IT are coming together to develop the new quantum computing and cyber security field. The growth of this industry will have far-reaching consequences for the information technology sector. Due to its unparalleled strength and fully functional technology, it will revolutionize the cybersecurity industry. Natural laws are used as the “bits” in quantum computers. Yet, the exclusive power meant it could perform thousands of tasks simultaneously.
When allied with the security sector, Quantum computers may break practically any encryption mechanism, putting all data privacy in danger. It’s the biggest challenge Cyber Security has ever faced. Over the past few years, researchers have dedicated significant efforts toward creating “quantum-safe” encryption. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is actively assessing 69 potential novel approaches for what they term “post-quantum cryptography (PQC),” as reported by the American Scientist.
Future code-breaking quantum computers would need 100,000 times more processing power and an error rate 100 times better than today’s best quantum computers have achieved.
– American Scientist
Quantum Cryptography was developed to leverage quantum technology to protect data privacy, security, and availability to beat this. As well as honing the nuances of quantum computing to make it more practical for application in manufacturing. Businesses that proactively strategize for a quantum-resilient future are poised to vigorous the strongest defense against emerging cyberattack vectors.
Understanding Quantum Computing
The current generation of computers has made great strides since its earliest days. The computing industry advanced, along with the advancement of technology, power, and theoretical frameworks. Such rapid development in the IT sector has allowed humans to solve gigantihave persisted for a long time and to handle and generate enormous quantities of data. Supercomputers, as we know them, are the most potent co. Still, they use it, but they have been unable to solve the latest issues for finding answers and managing the enormous amounts of data requiring control. Despite the existence of supercomputers, computer scientists and engineers still yearned to create a machine that could handle massive amounts of data and solve complex mathematical and scientific issues.
Physicists and computer scientists collaborated in the late 20th century to create a new computer, the “Quantum Computer.” They merged information theory and the theory of quantum mechanics. Unlike traditional computers, quantum computers can be in multiple states simultaneously (known as “superposition”), significantly boosting processing capabilities.
Quantum computers are improving, but their capabilities could compromise online safety. The advantage of the Quantum Computer is that it can crack public-key encryption. However, modern security relies heavily on encryption. Most forms of encryption are vulnerable to decryption by quantum computers. Because of this, there is a high danger of disclosure of sensitive information. Weak encryption methods will also render the existing cybersecurity infrastructure useless. It will also serve as a geopolitical roadblock. How a country responds to threats to its national security depends on factors such as policies and economic standing. (All countries can’t develop a Quantum Computer.)
Quantum cryptography methods enable data encryption and random number generation, contributing to complex encryption algorithms used in Quantum Computer systems for cybersecurity. This validates the world’s cybersecurity.
Quantum computers have ushered in a new computing era due to their immense power and capabilities. This power shift compromises computer and global security. Hence, cybersecurity must evolve alongside the IT industry. This intricate machinery, created by humans, holds the potential to enhance cybersecurity. Experts are harnessing cutting-edge tech to improve productivity and counter the growing threats it poses.
The theories of quantum computing have enhanced the reliability of the Cyber Security Risk management process. Current cyber security risk management strategies depend on classical probability theory due to the connection of existing models with cyber security behavior. Quantum cognition and the limitations of human intelligence and Hilbert space offer an alternative to these approaches.
Understanding Quantum Computing Implications for Cybersecurity
In cyber security, risk denotes the likelihood and consequences of adverse events resulting from attacks or threats to cyber assets. The hypotheses of Hilbert Space can replace the principles of classical probability theories on which quantum cognitions are based. It can potentially create novel, highly efficient mental models using quantum cognition. To better comprehend the object, identify potential threats, and improve decision-making. Quantum cognition aids in seeing for superpositions of likely states that are impossible to accuse using traditional probability theories, even though the probability asset can be dependent on a single state in some situations.
We know that IoT, or the Internet of Things, is a fast-expanding area of the information economy. There are now billions of internet-connected devices and a flood of personal information through them. Some of these gadgets are said to keep patients alive in hospitals, while others are said to keep homeowners up at night. As a result, protecting connected devices is crucial. The cyber security industry is developing to meet this goal. And today, with quantum computing technology contributing to the effort, it’s easier than ever. The three main layers comprising an Internet of Things system must have independent safeguards. Additionally, as the Internet of Things merges with quantum computing, a new layer, the Quantum Safeguard Layer, will be necessary to address global concerns.
Hybrid Internet of Things Network Infrastructure is the name given to the entire setup. This layer will improve the quantum layer’s channel of communication. Quantum cryptography will be used. Yet, quantum computing will eventually fuse with cloud computing technology, making quantum security available to cloud server infrastructure. This would ensure the safety of mass-community communication networks, allow users to access quantum virtual computers via cloud services, and encourage people to learn more about and experiment with quantum computing.
This industry can gain from quantum security integration with the rise of Cyber-Physical Systems’ significance and complex infrastructure. Sectors like energy supply and oil delivery benefit from CPS monitoring and standardization, impacting the global economy. Since such infrastructure relies on being accessible at all times, protecting it is paramount. Hence, unbreakable quantum algorithms will safeguard these systems. Additionally, we will encrypt the information differently to prevent hackers and eavesdroppers from accessing it. We will phase out the outdated RCA encryption mechanism and replace it with quantum encryption.
Quantum Computing and the Threat to Digital Signatures
As we’ve already established, quantum computers’ unique characteristics would allow them to solve problems beyond classical computers’ capabilities.
With the current state of technology and methods, it is impossible to reverse these calculations. Quantum computing will bring new tools that can break our current cryptosystems. Attackers who access quantum computers could crack previously secure systems, compromising data.
Large-scale quantum computers will significantly expand computing power, creating new opportunities for improving cybersecurity. Quantum-era cybersecurity will wield the power to detect and deflect quantum-era cyberattacks before they cause harm. But it could become a double-edged sword, as quantum computing may also create new exposures, such as the ability to quickly solve the difficult math problems that are the basis of some forms of encryption. While post-quantum cryptography standards are still being finalized, businesses and other organizations can start preparing today.
The current most significant threat to our most widely used public-key encryption systems comes from quantum computing. Though less severe, there will also be some effects on symmetric-key methods.
Other significant flaws in cryptography systems may be discovered in the future; after all, quantum computing is still a field full of surprises.
Due to Shor’s algorithm, public-key ciphers used in digital signature techniques are at risk from quantum computing. But, these vulnerabilities can now be overcome with the help of quantum digital signatures, made possible by the new technology.
The authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation capabilities of quantum digital signatures are equivalent to those of traditional digital signatures. The current systems, in contrast, are based on mathematical problems that are difficult to reverse; quantum-based systems, on the other hand, rely on the features of quantum mechanics.
When it comes to quantum digital signatures, there are two schools of thought:
The private key consists of a string of classical bits and generates the public quantum key. The private key is a string of quantum bits and serves as the basis for calculating the public quantum key.
Both quantum digital signatures use one-way quantum functions, differentiating them from traditional digital signatures. Unlike classical one-way functions, which are only extremely difficult to reverse, these would be impossible to reverse.
Critical Areas of Future Research in Quantum Cybersecurity
Quantum cybersecurity is an emerging field that aims to protect information from the threats of quantum computers. As we continue to explore the possibilities of quantum computing, it is crucial to identify key areas of future research in quantum cybersecurity to strengthen our defenses. Here are some potential research areas worth exploring:
1. Quantum-resistant cryptography: Developing new cryptographic algorithms resistant to attacks from quantum computers is a pressing need. Quantum computers have the potential to break many of the commonly used encryption methods, such as RSA and ECC. Research should focus on finding new cryptographic techniques that can withstand the computational power of quantum machines.
2. Quantum key distribution (QKD): QKD allows the secure distribution of encryption keys based on the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. However, existing QKD systems have limitations, such as limited distance and vulnerability to certain types of attacks. Future research should improve QKD protocols’ efficiency, scalability, and resilience.
3. Post-quantum cryptography standards: Collaborative efforts are needed to establish post-quantum cryptography standards. This involves developing new cryptographic algorithms and protocols that can be standardized and implemented across various systems and platforms. Setting these standards will ensure a smooth transition from current cryptographic methods to more robust post-quantum alternatives.
4. Secure network infrastructure: Quantum attacks can compromise critical network infrastructure, such as routers, switches, and communication channels. Future research should focus on developing secure networking protocols that can detect and deter quantum attacks and ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data transmission.
5. Quantum-resistant authentication schemes: Traditional authentication schemes may become vulnerable post-quantum. Research should investigate novel authentication methods that leverage quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms or utilize unique properties of quantum systems for secure identification and verification.
6. Quantum-resistant threat intelligence: As quantum technologies evolve, so will the adversaries’ capabilities. Research should be directed toward understanding quantum computers’ potential threats and developing countermeasures to mitigate the risks. This involves studying attack vectors’ vulnerabilities and developing quantum-resistant security analytics.
7. Quantum-safe software development: Quantum computers not only pose a threat to encryption algorithms but also have the potential to break software systems. Future research should focus on developing quantum-safe programming languages, tools, and practices that can withstand quantum computer attacks while ensuring software applications’ security and integrity.
By investing in these key research areas, we can anticipate a more secure future in the face of quantum threats. Academia, industry, and governments must collaborate to advance quantum research.
Quantum threats pose a significant risk to our current security measures. As traditional encryption methods become vulnerable to quantum attacks, we must stay ahead of malicious actors by investing in cutting-edge research. Academia is critical in advancing scientific knowledge and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Collaboration with industry is equally important. By partnering with companies developing quantum computers and other related technologies, we can leverage their expertise and resources to drive innovation faster.
Additionally, governments have a critical role in supporting quantum research initiatives. They can provide research funding opportunities and establish policies that promote stakeholder collaboration. Additionally, governments can create regulatory frameworks that foster trust in quantum technologies while ensuring responsible deployment. By working together across academia, industry, and governments, we can unlock the full potential of quantum technologies while safeguarding against emerging threats.
Which Steps Organizations Should Take Quantum For Cybersecurity Readiness?
Organizations prioritizing quantum cybersecurity preparedness now will be better positioned to navigate the quantum era confidently. Learn what steps your organization can take starting from today.
1. Education and Awareness: Understand the potential impact of quantum computing on cybersecurity. Equip your cybersecurity teams with knowledge about quantum threats and countermeasures.
2. Risk Assessment: Evaluate your organization’s reliance on encryption and identify critical data that needs protection against quantum attacks.
3. Investment in Research: Collaborate with experts and researchers to explore and adopt quantum-safe encryption protocols. Many cryptographic methods resistant to quantum attacks are being developed and tested.
4. Transition Strategy: Develop a transition plan to replace traditional encryption methods with quantum-resistant alternatives. This may involve updates to software, hardware, and communication protocols.
5. Partnerships and Collaboration: Engage with quantum technology providers, research institutions, and cybersecurity experts to stay updated on the latest developments and best practices.
Why CSOs Should Care About Quantum Computing Today?
This chart shows three possible transition paths to remediate quantum risks after an assessment in preparation for regulatory standards. By pursuing these strategic paths, organizations can methodically address quantum risks, proactively anticipating regulatory standards while bolstering their systems against potential vulnerabilities.
CSOs are responsible for safeguarding their organization’s digital assets and sensitive information. Quantum computing is no longer a futuristic concept; it’s a reality that demands proactive measures—waiting until quantum computers are widespread risks exposing critical data to vulnerabilities. By caring about quantum computing today, CSOs can lead their organizations in fortifying their cybersecurity strategies and ensuring a secure digital future in the face of quantum challenges.
Around 2030 Cloud Security Alliance estimates that a quantum computer will be able to break present-day cybersecurity infrastructure. Today, RSA, Diffie—Hellman (DH) and Elliptic Curve-based are ubiquitously used for the global public key infrastructure. All of these algorithms are vulnerable to quantum attacks. We need to transition to quantum-safe or quantum resistant algorithms which will provide continued protection of information for many decades to come. There are solutions and the time is now to prepare for a quantum-safe future.
As technology progresses, organizations and governments are taking steps to prepare for this potential future, where quantum computers become more prevalent. They are investing in research and development efforts to create quantum-safe encryption methods that can withstand attacks from quantum computers.
We still don’t know much about quantum computing and its practical applications. Several firms working on quantum computing predict that it will be ready for commercial usage within the next five to fifteen years, while its harshest critics think it will never be practical.
While we cannot predict exactly when quantum computers will have a practical impact on cybersecurity, the industry needs to remain vigilant and proactive in developing resilient cryptographic solutions. By doing so, we can ensure that our digital communications remain secure despite these emerging technological challenges.