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Prepare for the Quantum Revolution: Cybersecurity Experts Weigh In

SECURITYPrepare for the Quantum Revolution: Cybersecurity Experts Weigh In

Quantum computers, much like artificial intelligence, represent a technology that could significantly alter business. One of the most crucial benefits of such technology is computational power, allowing for the exceptionally fast processing of data. This speed impacts many scientific fields and aspects of everyday life – from particle research, through weather forecast accuracy, traffic optimization, and financial modeling, to cybersecurity. However, it will also facilitate cybercriminal activities, such as breaking codes. Should we be worried about this in 2024?

– The concept of quantum computers has been known since the 1980s. However, we still do not have a machine that fulfills all the expectations placed in this technology. A quantum computer primarily means enormous computational power, which can lead to breakthroughs in medicine, transport, climate protection, and many other fields. Yet, it also poses a new threat, which has been discussed for years. After all, cybercriminals will also be using this power, opening up previously unknown possibilities for them – explains Michał Zalewski, an engineer at Barracuda Networks, a producer of cybersecurity solutions.

Are we ready for this? In November 2022, the US government enacted a law on quantum computer cybersecurity awareness. Hence, governments are gradually preparing for this revolution. Is the year 2024 a good moment for businesses, institutions, and cybersecurity companies to start considering the new possibilities and threats?

Experts from Barracuda Networks share their thoughts.

Sheila Hara, Senior Director, Product Management, Email Protection: Quantum computers do not currently pose a direct threat to existing security systems. However, it is vital to consider their potential impact today and take steps to prepare for the future. Quantum computers theoretically have the ability to crack commonly used encryption algorithms, such as RSA and ECC, through a process known as Shor’s algorithm. This means that sensitive data encrypted with these algorithms could potentially be decrypted by a quantum computer. This implies a threat to confidential information, including personal data and financial transactions. The transition from current cryptographic standards to quantum-resistant standards will require time and careful planning. Organizations must start considering this change to ensure the security of their data in the future.

Stefan Schachinger, Senior Product Manager, IoT: Companies should treat security as an ongoing process. Start with the easiest targets, consistently improve and don’t try to achieve 100% in one night. If the projects grow too much, if they are too complex or too costly, they fail instead of bringing benefits. Companies that believe they’ve done everything to protect themselves from current threats may worry about quantum computers. However, the vast majority of organizations need to complete other tasks first. The use of quantum computers is still very limited, and it’s certainly not a widespread technology. Nonetheless, we should remember it because things will eventually change.

Rohit Aradhya, VP and Managing Director, Engineering: Quantum computers are an impending threat. They are expected to help crack asymmetric encryption solutions based on integer factorization or discrete logarithms. However, in practice, the ability to leverage quantum resources to impact enterprise security on a large scale is still some way off. Additionally, research and various initiatives are already underway to ensure that security products can handle threats from quantum computers. In my opinion, it is worth paying attention to this topic in the near future, but probably not in 2024.

Mark Lukie, Director of Solution Architects, APAC: Yes, the time has come to think about quantum computers in the context of security. However, it’s not yet time to worry. Quantum computers are at an early stage of development, and we still have time to prepare for their arrival. There are many things that organizations and individuals can do to minimize risk. For example, using post-quantum cryptography algorithms, distributing quantum keys, and segmenting networks and systems. We can also educate employees in best cybersecurity practices to help reduce the risk of phishing attacks and other attacks using social engineering. Although quantum computers do pose certain security problems, they also have the potential to revolutionize many industries, including the cybersecurity sector. Quantum computers can be used, among other things, to develop new encryption algorithms that will be even safer than those we currently use.

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