Quantum computing, the stuff of science fiction in many people’s minds, is very real. We are nearing a world where quantum computers will become commonplace, at least in larger organizations and government agencies.
Quantum computers are theorized to be 158 million times faster than the most sophisticated supercomputers we currently have. This effectively means that a regular quantum computer could easily solve a problem in a few minutes that would take a supercomputer more than 10,000 years.
Several companies like Accenture, Google, IBM, Amazon, and many others are currently working on creating the world’s first quantum computer. And the question is not if but when someone will develop the first one.
However, as much as quantum computing will benefit humanity, it will also pose security issues. Cybercriminals and hackers will be able to use these machines to successfully breach the security of any regular computer system, even entire blockchains that are currently thought to be practically unbreakable.
So, how real is this threat? It sounds impossible as it’s hard to grasp how powerful a quantum computer is. Let’s discuss that.
How Quantum Computers Work and What Is Quantum Computing?
Quantum computing strives to use the principles and rules of quantum physics in the world of computers. This effectively means using science that works at the atomic and subatomic levels and applying it to computers.
Even though it’s part of the plot of Marvel’s Ant-Man movies, it’s certainly a real thing. We haven’t developed the first quantum computers yet, but many companies are working on them.
But what are quantum computers exactly? As you know, regular computers use ones and zeroes to store data and information. This technology limits standard computers and even supercomputers as it means that you can either have a one or a zero.
However, a quantum computer operates on quantum bits or qubits. These also consist of ones and zeros, but they can combine these two simultaneously, while a regular computer can only have one set at a time.
But how does that relate to security?
Massive Threat of Quantum Attacks
As you can see, quantum computers can solve incredibly complex calculations millions of times faster than regular computers, thanks to their unique technology.
The problem here is not that a quantum computer will be able to run apps faster or more processes simultaneously. The issue is much more profound.
Quantum computers can solve calculations faster, which also means that they can easily break modern encryption standards.
Various encryptions and other modern security solutions like the ones used by many modern blockchains are next to impossible to break. No computer in the world is powerful enough to solve complex equations or check millions of possible combinations to break cryptography-based security in due time. They need thousands of years for that.
But a quantum computer is powerful enough to do it in minutes. And this is no longer just a theory. It’s a real threat, and both governments and businesses are worried and rushing to develop the first quantum computers and security features that would resist quantum attacks.
The White House announced that President Biden is getting ready to sign directives that will advance the USA’s initiatives in the realm of quantum information science (QIS) and work on combating the risks of quantum attacks.
Their research shows that these attacks will become a significant problem in the not-so-distant future when the first quantum computers appear. They believe that quantum attacks will be able to break most of the cryptography that currently makes the online world secure.
Are We Ready to Defend Against Quantum Attacks?
At the moment, no. Quantum computers are still not here, so no one is really preparing for the threat they will pose.
However, many believe that this is the right time to start the transition to newer and safer security systems.
This is especially true in the blockchain world, which is already much safer than the rest of the online world. Blockchains will have a more challenging time transitioning to newer standards due to their very nature, so they need to start making proper plans. Organizations in this sphere need to stay at the forefront and develop technologies to protect them from future quantum attacks.
One of the forerunners here is QAN, a hybrid blockchain platform made to be quantum-resistant. It’s one of the few projects in the cryptocurrency sphere whose founders are very aware of the threat quantum attacks will pose.
Blockchain projects and other businesses need to start realizing this as well because the preparation and turning to new security standards will take a long time. It’s better to be prepared in advance than shocked when the first quantum attacks arrive. At that point, your systems will be defenseless and powerless to stop them.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice