June 24, 2021


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Quantum computers tomorrow mean encryption problems today

Quantum computing experts agree: As the exotic machines mature, they’ll someday be able to crack much of today’s encryption. That will lay bare private communications, company data and military secrets.

Today’s quantum computers are far too primitive to do so. But data surreptitiously gathered now could still be sensitive when more powerful quantum computers come online in a few years.

The computing industry is well aware of this potential vulnerability. Some companies have embarked on an effort to create, test and adopt new encryption algorithms impervious to quantum computers. Some of those companies, including IBM and Thales, have already begun offering what’s called post-quantum cryptography.

Quantum-safe encryption will come into your life through upgraded laptops, phones, web browsers and other products. But most of the burden for quantum-safe encryption rests on the shoulders of businesses, governments and cloud computing services that must design and install the technology. It’s an extraordinarily complex change that’s on par with fixing Y2K bugs or upgrading internet communications from IPv4 to IPv6.

It’s a colossal effort, but it has to be done. Not only are today’s communications vulnerable, but quantum computers later could crack the digital signatures that ensure the integrity of updates to apps, browsers, operating systems and other software, opening a path for malware.

Quantum computing is the darling of the industry, and it’s attracted millions of dollars in investment. At this month’s Google I/O developer conference, the search giant unveiled plans for a new quantum computing center that will employ hundreds of people with the goal of building a practical quantum computer by 2029. Other tech giants, such as Honeywell, IBM, Intel and Microsoft, are racing to build the first powerful quantum computers. So are IonQ, PsiQuantum, Xanadu, Silicon Quantum Computing and other startups.

Read more: https://www.cnet.com/news/quantum-computers-tomorrow-mean-encryption-problems-today/