Quantum Computing and Cybersecurity – Preparing for Post-Quantum Cryptography

Quantum computing represents the biggest threat to data security in the medium term since it can make attacks against cryptography much more efficient.
Despite encrypted data appearing random, encryption algorithms follow logical rules and can be vulnerable to some kinds of attacks. All algorithms are inherently vulnerable to brute-force attacks, in which all possible combinations of the encryption key are tried. According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach report, 85% of breaches caused by hacking involve brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials. Moreover, Cybercrime costs the U.S. economy $100 billion a year and costs the global economy $450 billion annually.

Nevertheless, a 128-bit encryption key establishes a secure theoretical limit against brute-force attacks,
since the latter are considered to be computationally infeasible.
However, quantum computing speeds up prime number factorization, so computers with quantum
computation can easily break cryptographic keys via quickly calculating and exhaustively searching secret
keys. A task thought to be computationally impossible by conventional computer architectures becomes
easy by compromising existing cryptographic algorithms, shortening the span of time needed to break
public-key cryptography from years to hours.

In the future, even robust cryptographic algorithms will be significantly weakened by quantum computing, while others will not be secure at all.

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