In the context of the technological revolution, hackers are developing in parallel with innovative solutions in cybersecurity. However, engineers, mathematicians and physicists are actively working on new ways of quantum encryption. Let’s analyze the main advantages and difficulties in the implementation of such protection.

What is cryptography?

Cryptography is a means of protecting data from intruders. It allows you to protect any information on devices, from web conferencing to individual browsing history. The data is encrypted using algorithms that require a unique key to decrypt.

The use of one private key, that is, a specific string of bits for decryption and encryption, is called symmetric cryptography.

And the use of public keys for encryption and private keys for decryption, each generated by algorithm-based random number generators , is called asymmetric cryptography.

Complete randomness is difficult to achieve by classical means, but it can be achieved using quantum physics.

Quantum key distribution

There are two methods that allow large-scale quantum and classical computers to hide sensitive information.

  • Method # 1:  recovering the key generated during the key agreement stage.
  • Method # 2:  interrupt the encryption algorithm.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a low-level quantum cryptographic algorithm designed to generate non-breaking keys. QKD provides key agreement including the well-known BB84 and E91 protocols . In 2017, the Chinese team proved the possibility of secure data transfer between satellites using symmetric cryptography and QKD. 

However, the QKD alone cannot satisfy all protection requirements. However, there are other mechanisms for increasing security through the use of “quantum-safe” encryption algorithms. They are based on solving mathematical problems, not on the laws of quantum physics.

Limitations in quantum computing

The most important task now is to create the most fault-tolerant qubits (cells for storing information in a quantum computer) in order to increase the possibilities of quantum computing. Tech giants such as Google, Amazon, IBM and Honeywell are already investing in finding solutions to this problem.

Currently, quantum computers are programmed for individual quantum logic gates (basic elements of a quantum computer that transform the input states of qubits into outputs according to a certain law). This may be acceptable for small quantum computers, but will become a problem in the use of a large number of qubits. IBM and Classiq are developing more and more data abstraction mechanisms that allow developers to apply quantum technologies to solve real-world problems.

For complex tasks, including error correction schemes, organizations need to ensure that they can monitor large volumes of qubits. This implies low latency and CMOS-based adaptive feedback control circuits.

The question of increasing the number of qubits in a quantum chip is still open. Since it is difficult to imagine developing multiple qubit chips with millions of wires connected to a circuit board right now.

Applying quantum computing to cybersecurity

Researchers and analysts are committed to developing secure quantum encryption. According to American Scientist, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology is currently researching 69 new techniques known as post-quantum cryptography. Quantum computing is a good potential solution to cybersecurity and encryption problems. Therefore, every security-focused organization must clearly understand what crypto flexibility is.

However, the quantum revolution is highly unpredictable. Although the prospect of the introduction of fault-tolerant quantum computers is not yet relevant, modern quantum technologies are still very effective in increasing the confidentiality and security of communications. Companies should think about developing innovative strategies and be prepared for the coming quantum revolution.