The Relationship Between Quantum Computing and Cryptography

The world economy is about to undergo profound transformation as a result of quantum computing cryptography. Once it is widely available, its benefits will cut across industries, boosting existing technology and enabling us to tackle difficult issues in a way that has never been possible. These developments do not, however, come without perils. The cybersecurity landscape will undergo a major change as a result of quantum computing, particularly in the area of cryptography.


The Rise of Quantum Computing: Famous or Infamous?


Since the 1980s, when research on quantum computing first began, it was frequently referred to as “the next big thing” in computing. While traditional computers store information in a binary form of 1s or 0s, a quantum computer, also known as a qubit, encodes data in a quantum state (quantum bit).


Due to the superposition principle, these qubits can store data as 1s, 0s, or anything in between. Qubits can therefore store more data than bits, which is why they have an exponentially higher computing capacity than traditional computers.


In order to commercialize the technology, there has been significant investment from organizations and a plethora of quantum start-ups, which have sharply increased quantum manufacturing and R&D.


In addition, they collaborate with government-sponsored projects from the US, China, Europe, and now Russia, many of which aim to use the technology for communications infrastructure (the so-called “quantum internet”) and, maybe, more sinister goals.


Impact of Quantum Computing Cryptography


Full-fledged commercialized quantum computers will have a revolutionary impact on a variety of fields, such as economic analysis, big data, AI, and many more that require vast amounts of data and intricate calculations.


However, because the same computer capacity may be used to undermine cybersecurity, the technology will have the potential to cause harm.


Threats to public key cryptography are of special concern. MIT scientist Peter Shor recognized this problem in 1994 and created the “Shor’s algorithm,” for prime factorization, the method public key cryptography uses to generate keys.


This suggests that the majority of the world’s cryptography can be broken in a couple of days, if not hours, by a quantum system executing Shor’s algorithm. To put this into perspective, a traditional computer would require thousands of years to complete the same task.

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