So you might already have heard about what is being coined “the quantum threat” (if you haven’t, don’t worry, you’re about to find out exactly what it is!). But what you might not know is that the solution to this threat is already here. Not only is it already here, but it is actually commercially available. Seriously, you could buy it for yourself, your business, and/or your client right now.
So, for those who don’t know, what exactly is “the quantum threat”?
It is basically the threat to our digitally dependent lives that is being brought about by the rapidly developing application of quantum technology in the world of computing. In other words, quantum computers are well on their way, and they’re a problem.
The primary issue we’re facing in the wake of quantum computers is the potential impact they could have on our cyber security. I say could, because there is no certainty around exactly what these computers will be able to do. However, the predictions for their capabilities have all been correct so far, so this is by no means a reason not to prepare ourselves. See, the problem is that quantum computers are more than 100 million times faster even than the world’s fastest supercomputer. Given this, just imagine how much faster they are than ordinary computers!
Sounds like a good thing, not a problem, right? Right. The potential implications for these computers are incredible. They could help us to establish artificial intelligence that is smarter than we ever imagined. They could support medical health technology to develop in ways we didn’t think possible. They can solve problems in mere seconds that it would take a supercomputer hundreds of years to solve. They will, without a doubt, change many lives for the better. But there is a dark side to quantum computers.
To help you understand why quantum computers are a problem as well as a solution, let me explain what would happen if a cyber criminal got their hands on one. You do not need to have your own quantum computer to access one, as many organisations currently developing the devices plan to make them widely available. This means that, with mere access to a quantum computer, a criminal could quickly and easily hack into even the most secure online networks. Say they manage to access communications between a government or national security official and their colleague. They could release sensitive information that could lead to a serious international conflict. They could also hold the information at ransom, leaving dangerous malware in the official’s system and putting all further data gathered within connected networks at risk. Finally, they could change or remove important information in the system, stunting the progress of a specific project and/or damaging the entire system in question.
Who Will Be Affected
The threat posed by quantum computers is far more often discussed in the world of cryptography than anywhere else, but make no mistake, this is a problem we will all be affected by.
After all, it isn’t just high-level government hacks that put us at risk. Hacking your business’ IT provider or that website you bought socks from last week (which, compared to a high-level hack, would probably be pretty damned easy) could mean a complete shut-down of your network, the loss or theft of your business’ entire portfolio of work, and/or an emptied bank account.
It is actually quite simple. A London-based organisation known as Arqit Limited has produced a solution using something called quantum encryption. Quantum encryption is the term used to describe the application of quantum technology into data encryption techniques. This type of encryption is completely impossible to decrypt, even by quantum computers, because it does not work using a ‘pattern’ the way other techniques do. Quantum encryption creates random and unique ‘encryption keys’ for every new piece of data transferred, making its encryption system entirely unpredictable and thus unhackable.
Arqit’s primary offering, QuantumCloud™, enables any device to download a lightweight software agent capable of quantum encryption. Consisting of less than 200 lines of code, the agent can create encryption keys that are entirely trustless, secure, and don’t exist until the moment they are needed. QuantumCloud™ can create as many of these keys as needed, providing a limitless scope for the product once installed.
The best part? It’s available right now
Government organisations, many large-scale businesses, and even some individuals have now picked up on this product and implemented it into their cyber security solutions. So my question is: why aren’t we all using it?