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Quantum Computing: The Coming Threat to Tech Security

By Dick Weisinger

Haim Isreal, Bank of America strategist, said that “quantum computing could be an even more radical technology in terms of its impact on businesses than the smartphone has been. This is going to be a revolution.”

A major worry is that the hyper-leapfrog ability that quantum computing will provide will render much of today’s public encryption easily breakable. Quantum computers will be super-quick in being able to factor large numbers, the heart of current encryption methods, which will render most encryption methods as insecure. Without quantum-safe encryption many of the kinds of transactions we’ve grown used to using via the internet will no longer be safe. Bank accounts and government secrets will all become vulnerable.

Google has had some early success with quantum computing, but we’re still not there. Some predict that quantum computers will be a reality within the next 30 years. Scott Totzke, CEO of ISARA, said that “we must begin preparing now because no enterprise—whether a government, a military or a private company—can afford to be unprepared.”

Dr. Jill Pipher, President of the American Mathematical Society, said that “the future of the powerful quantum computing threatens the cryptographic infrastructure that we’ve spent decades developing… Quantum computers of the future threaten the security of this infrastructure.”

54 percent of cybersecurity professionals have said that they’re worried of the impact of quamtum computing on tech security, according to Neustar.

Some worry that the US is falling behind. John Prisco, CEO of Quantum Xchange, warns that US investments are small compared to those of China and even in Europe. China will be opening the National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences this year, funded with more than $10 billion. Europe has a quantum initiative called OPENQKD which combines fiber optics and satellites to create a network that can server 13 nations. The United States in comparison has allocated only about $1.5 billion for quantum research.

Prisco worries that China is stealing as much information as it can now, even if it is unreadable in today’s encrypting, but it will become readable in the future when quantum computing becomes available. He calls it a “harvest today, read tomorrow” strategy.

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