The time for quantum computing investment 'is now,' experts say
- The time for quantum computing investment and standardization is now, according to Dr. Lily Lidong Chen, project leader and mathematician at the NIST Cryptographic Technology Group, speaking Tuesday at a event for Cyber Week in Washington D.C. Cryptography is the basis of cybersecurity, but quantum computing will render current encryption schemes useless in coming years. Quantum resistant cryptography, otherwise known as post-quantum cryptography, demands concerted development across the board, said Chen.
- Quantum random number generation (QRNG) is the key security application for the enterprise for the next five years, according to Dr. Raymond Newell, research scientist at the Applied Physics Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Classical computing can only create pseudo-random number generators and rely on computational difficulty as the basis of encryption, making them vulnerable to cracking by quantum computing, said Newell. But QRNG systems are truly random.
- The no-cloning theoreom, which describes how quantum states cannot be copied, is critical for data protection because it means quantum information cannot be duplicated, let alone re-read or divided, according to Newell. The recently disclosed WPA2 KRACK vulnerability would have been a non-issue were quantum applications in place, said Dr. Aaron VanDevender, chief scientist and principal of Founders Fund, because the basis of the vulnerability is hackers' ability to copy keys.
Major tech companies have already jumped on board the quantum train. Microsoft, Rigetti, Google, IBM and Intel are among the early innovators, but thought progress is by no means limited to primarily U.S.-based companies.
Satya Nadello, CEO of Microsoft, recently reaffirmed quantum computing as one of the three technologies which will be path to the future, on the heels of the company's launch of a new quantum programming language, simulator and Visual Studio integration.
As companies slowly roll out new quantum applications, "backward secrecy" — what Chen describes as the continuation of secrecy for information encrypted under earlier systems —will become a new priority.
In the security sphere, a complete rollout of quantum encryption and post-quantum cryptography requires a retrospective update of old systems. The movement to quantum systems will be very gradual.
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