Preparing for cyber attacks in the age of quantum computing
Preparing for cyber attacks in the age of quantum computing

The little-known British company Arqit is preparing companies and governments for the next big threat to their cyber defense: quantum computers.

Although this is still a new area of ​​research. However, some people in the tech industry, including companies like Google and Microsoft, believe that quantum computing will become a reality in the next decade.

This could be worrisome news for the security of the company's network.

Quantum computers are millions of times faster than classical computers and can crack one of the most widely used encryption methods.

The traditional encryption we use to protect our secrets is called a PKI or public key infrastructure. It was invented in the seventies.

PKI was originally designed to protect communication between two computers. And it's not designed for a hyper-connected world, there are a billion communication devices in the world.

Arqit's clients are: BT, the UK government and the European Space Agency. Some of his teams previously worked for the British intelligence service GCHQ.

Last month, a series of devastating ransomware attacks were carried out against companies from Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, to the world's largest meatpacking company, GPS.

At the same time, Microsoft and several US authorities were also affected by the attack on the computer company SolarWinds.

President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order to strengthen America's cyber defense.

What is quantum computing:

Quantum computing aims to apply the principles of quantum physics to computers.

Today's computers use 1 and 0 to store information. But quantum computing relies on qubits, or qubits.

These qubits can consist of a set of ones and zeros at the same time, which is known as stratification.

In addition, these qubits can also be linked together through a phenomenon called entanglement.

This means that quantum computers are much more powerful than machines today. It can solve complex arithmetic operations faster.

Quantum computers are designed to perform very specific operations faster than conventional computers.

According to experts, this could be an issue with modern encryption standards. When we use PKI passwords, we solve the hard factoring problem in half.

Argit thinks she has found a solution. Arqit does not rely on public key cryptography, but rather sends a symmetric cryptographic key - a long random number - called quantum key distribution via satellite.

As part of the SPAC deal, Virgin Orbit has invested in Arqit and plans to launch satellites from Cornwall, UK by 2023.

what is the point:

Some experts say it may be some time before quantum computers pose a threat to today's cyber defense.

Arqit assumes that these computers won't exist in any significant way for at least the next 10 years.

If one accepts the fact that quantum computers will be available in 10 years, anyone with eyesight can now record and decode important conversations when the device appears.

Public key cryptography is ubiquitous in our digital world, from your bank card to your Internet connection to your car key.

The US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is trying to update cryptographic standards to include post-quantum cryptographic algorithms that can withstand attacks from quantum computers.

NIST plans to make a decision on the new standard by the end of 2021. The challenge now is how companies should prepare for the transition to the new standard.

Previous experiences have shown that switching from one algorithm to another is very slow and takes years or even decades. Businesses need to prepare now.

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