Encryption is the Engine; Data is the Oil; Quantum Computers are the Nails in the Road

Quantum supremacy’ and the threat it poses to data storage, digital economy

Excerpts and salient points ~

+  End-to-end encryption, the one employed by messaging platforms like WhatsApp, are considered secure as it is difficult to decrypt the coded message sent from one user to another if it is intercepted by hackers. Even the most sophisticated computers in use would take thousands of years to divine the required cryptographic key if it tried all possible combinations – a practice known as brute force attack.

If data is the new oil, encryption is the engine that drives the digital economy. Everything from credit card transactions to health data stored on wearable devices is secured by cryptography. These complex algorithms, in turn, facilitate the safe use of the profusion of data generated every day.

+  If quantum computers were to go mainstream, the use cases for cryptography would no longer be secure. The encryption used in professional network and in WiFi routers could be cracked in a matter of moments. Email and messaging services would be compromised. Banking transaction could be subverted, putting at risk the financial details of clients.

+  Despite the latest breakthrough, researchers at Google are yet orders of magnitude away from attaining the computer power to crack such algorithms. To mount a credible threat, scientists will need to fit in more qubits to the existing architecture. The Google Sycamore system that attained quantum supremacy had a 54-qubit processor. Moreover, the absence of standard libraries for lattice algorithms adds to the complexity of integrating software with quantum hardware.

+  While lattice-based encryption services are costly, large companies might want to consider using it to secure critical data that has a long shelf life. Transactional data that is generated in bulk every day does not arguably require that level of encryption as its value to hackers depreciates over time. The threat to national security, however, is more worrisome.

Source:  The Economic Times.  Rohan Abraham,  Quantum supremacy’ and the threat it poses to data storage, digital economy…

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