Quantum Computing is advancing
The advancement in quantum computing could see it arrive much quicker than previously thought with Mega brands like Google, IBM, Amazon, Intel, Baidu and other global tech companies leading the way.
Using the company’s state-of-the-art quantum computer, called Sycamore, Google has claimed “quantum supremacy” over the most powerful supercomputers in the world by solving a problem considered virtually impossible for normal machines. The quantum computer completed the complex computation in 200 seconds. That same calculation would take the most powerful supercomputer in the world approximately 10,000 years to finish.
China also recently announced that they had matched Google’s quantum supremacy. A system called Jiuzhang produced results in minutes calculated to take more than 2 billion years of effort by the world’s third-most-powerful supercomputer.
While they are powerful, the results are still not yet reliable with both IBM and Google acknowledging that we are years away from having a practical quantum computer.
Currently, neither Google or China can solve the factoring problem that is crucial to decoding encrypted information.
Does Quantum Computing impact current SSL technology?
If successfully adopted, Quantum computers could undermine almost all of the encryption protocols that we use today – particularly with regards to TLS 1.3, data that is encrypted and decrypted through the use of a 256-bit key. 256-bit refers to both the length of the key and how strong it is. The longer the key size, the harder it is to crack.
This 256-bit key basically turns plaintext into unreadable ciphertext. A brute force attack would require the attacker to crack 2 x 256 different number combinations, which even based on today’s supercomputers would take many lifetimes to crack. An MIT study showed that a 2048-bit RSA key— another widely used encryption key — could potentially be broken by a powerful quantum computer in 8 hours.
The future of SSL in a Quantum world
It is likely that with the ascendance of Quantum computing we will also see quantum resistant cryptography developed and we will transition to a new type of cryptography called ‘post-quantum cryptography’, which is considered to be inherently resistant to quantum attacks.
It is likely that current encryption algorithms will be phased out in parallel with the emergency of quantum cryptography. The technology to break current encryption is still theoretical and the technological advancement required is not here yet. There are 16 quantum computers known in the world, the most powerful being 32 qubits. To break AES-256 bit encryption it is estimated that 6,681 qubit-quantum computers would be needed.
To put a timeframe on it, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has suggested that quantum computers will be able to break today’s encryption methods in the next 5-10 years.
● Quantum computing is advancing at a scary rate with Google and China claiming quantum supremacy.
● Quantum computing will change current encryption protocols as we know it and we will see the emergence of a quantum class encryption.
● While Quantum computing can not break SSL today, it is suggested that this will be possible within a decade.
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