Earlier this year, our chief technology officer (CTO) of data security, Walid Rjaibi, outlined his perspective on the risks that quantum computers might pose to cybersecurity, particularly concerning common algorithms used in encryption. He astutely observed, however, that the risks are only one part of the story.
Quantum computing also has the potential to revolutionize our cybersecurity capabilities.
How Will Quantum Computing Enhance Cybersecurity?
According to a new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) paper, the two most notable areas of cybersecurity that quantum computing promises to enhance are machine learning and quantum number generation.
Machine learning is already a widely used and understood term in the cybersecurity world. We use machine learning capabilities today in security information and event management (SIEM), data protection, incident response and other solutions to improve behavior anomaly detection, classification and prediction capabilities. Given their improved speed and power, quantum computers have the potential to enhance the efficacy of machine learning when used for cybersecurity pursuits.
Random number generation is a key component of cryptography (pun intended). Classical random number generation can be split into two categories: pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs) and true random number generators (TRNGs). TRNGs are more suitable for generating strong encryption keys (you can read more about why in the IBV paper). Quantum random number generators (QRNGs) would be a special subset of TRNGs, which exploit the inherent randomness of quantum physics to generate even more random sequences of numbers, thus stronger encryption keys.
Cybersecurity: Why the Sky Isn’t Falling
As you may have learned at Think 2018, despite the risks quantum computing may pose to cybersecurity, the sky is not falling. There are many measures organizations can take to safeguard their critical data today and in the future.
For example, doubling the key size of existing symmetric encryption algorithms can help companies prepare for how the cybersecurity landscape may change when large-scale quantum computers become available. Beyond that, the improvements quantum computing could potentially bring to cybersecurity will also contribute to stronger protection capabilities.
To learn more about the cybersecurity implications of quantum computing and how you can prepare for the future, download our recent paper from the IBM IBV, “Wielding a Double-Edged Sword: Preparing Cybersecurity Now for a Quantum World.”
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Author: David Jarvis