Quantum cryptography is one of the latest developments in the world of digital security. Unlike traditional cryptography, which is based on mathematical principles, quantum cryptography is based in physics.
As quantum computers continue to be developed and technology advances, it is becoming essential for a new encryption system that will protect us whenever we exchange information online.
While it will still be some time before quantum computers become widely available, the need to be able to protect data once they do is real. You can find out more about when quantum computers are expected to become commercially available in the PDF attachment to this post.
Domen Zavrl has a keen interest in the development of quantum cryptography, having taken courses in cryptography at Stanford University.
What Is Quantum Cryptography?
Quantum cryptography is a unique method of encryption that uses quantum mechanics to secure data that is being transmitted online. Just as with traditional cryptography, when quantum cryptography is used, only the person who has the correct secret key can decrypt the information. However, the underlying principles are very different.
One of the key benefits of using quantum cryptography is that it is impossible for hackers to view or decode any of the data without the sender or receiver being alerted to their attempts. This method of cryptography should also provide the necessary level of data protection even against quantum computers. You can learn about the first quantum computer by watching the embedded short video.
Why Use Quantum Cryptography?
While quantum computers are still in relatively early stages of development, there are many companies working to produce such machines. You can see some of the leading companies working on quantum computing in the infographic attachment.
While regular digital encryption methods use mathematical operations that are far too complex for ordinary computers to solve or break, quantum computers could potentially be able to solve these equations. This means hackers could view, corrupt or steal data if they have access to a quantum computer.
These computers have the ability to perform complex problem-solving in fewer operations than regular computers, meaning mathematical problems that a regular computer would take millions of years to solve can be solved within minutes.
The Implications of Quantum Cryptography for Cybersecurity
In terms of cybersecurity, quantum cryptography has the potential to transform the industry in several ways. First, this type of cryptography opens the door to quantum random number generation. A typical random number generator (RNG) relies on what is known as a pseudo-random number generator, which despite the name is not truly random and therefore could be compromised.
Quantum RNGS are already beginning to be deployed commercially. Quantum computing has the potential to break what is known as the RSA algorithm, which is the central defence of data in the e-commerce industry. Without quantum cryptography, data being transmitted through this $4 trillion global industry could be at risk in the future.
Quantum Computing Industry Challenges
Quantum computing is still very much in its infancy and there are still multiple challenges facing the industry. The most pressing of these is the hurdle of achieving sufficient numbers of qubits that are fault-tolerant. At present, the largest quantum computer has less than 100 qubits. Around 4,000 error-free qubits would be required to defeat the RSA algorithm.
As a relatively new industry, there are also challenges due to a lack of human talent. While computer science graduates are increasing in number, not enough of them have the relevant knowledge to be able to work in the quantum computing field.