The rise of quantum computing presents a new challenge to cybersecurity in our society. Now that quantum computing is becoming more widespread and accessible due to lower price points, it is a tool that could become available to more people and industries.
But should quantum computing be available to everyone? Read on to explore the potential challenges and benefits.
The development of quantum computing
Conceptually, quantum has been in development for more than 15 years. The name itself refers to computing that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems that have been too complex for traditional computers.
This power makes them able to carry out multiple calculations at once. Quantum computers are smaller than supercomputers, and use technical machinery to work, including superfluids colder than conventional fans and superconductors that allow electrons to move resistance-free.
But what does that all mean for cybersecurity? These advances in computing have become more affordable, which has opened the market for more private users than before. With more users come more potential challenges.
The challenges involved in quantum computing
The abilities of quantum computers mean that they are faster, more complex, and more powerful than any standard or supercomputer.
The risk to cybersecurity comes into play when you consider password crackers – hacking tools that can take encrypted data and decode it. These usually take a long time to work.
A quantum computer could have the potential to break many encryption schemes, putting cybersecurity at risk for anyone whose data has been encrypted – including banking data and other personal information.
Conversely, there is the potential for quantum computing to better secure personal data through advanced cryptography. This kind of powerful computing could present new use opportunities for society - and therefore wider use cases for private users – potentially including cybercriminals.
The opportunities available in quantum computing
When thinking about the wider opportunities available through quantum computing, one must wonder whether it will become licensable or available with open access. Ensuring the most strategic and carefully managed access to quantum computing could help to enhance the cybersecurity of the future.
The internet of things (IoT) could benefit from quantum computing, and it’s thought that quantum could eliminate many of the challenges faced by the IoT. As gadgets and systems connect without human intervention, the security offered by quantum could boost the integrity and development of the IoT even further.
So, how can you balance the opportunities of quantum computing with the potential risk to cybersecurity?
As quantum becomes more affordable and therefore more accessible to wider society, there are a few things to consider:
1. Regulation and standardization
Regulation indeed has a role in addressing emerging technologies, but it can fall short against the rapid pace of innovation, often leading to outdated and obsolete rules.
In contrast, a standardization approach can present a more effective and enduring solution. Standardization operates on principles, allowing it to stay aligned with real-time developments and offering sectors and governments a more effective risk management strategy.
2. Enhanced Protection
Embedding built-in safeguards becomes instrumental in thwarting cybercrime and pre-empting the risk of quantum computing falling into unauthorized hands.
Progress in quantum-safe cryptography highlights the endeavour to create and pinpoint algorithms that can withstand attacks from both conventional and quantum computers, bolstering data security beyond the deployment of quantum computers.
Discover our contribution to standardization
Contributing to the advancement of quantum computing, we play a pivotal role by supporting the development of targeted technology standards. Notably, the Quantum Computing – Terminology and Vocabulary (ISO/IEC DIS 4879), anticipated for release in 2024, aims to establish a shared lexicon within the sector and uphold standardized terms and naming conventions.
Our involvement also extends to projects such as the Introduction to Quantum Computing (ISO/IEC AWI TR 18157) and Provisioning, Forecasting and Management (ISO/IEC PWI 18670), encompassing fundamental requirements for quantum resource simulation.