Quantum Cryptography

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) provides quantum-safe secure communication protocols, guaranteeing provably secure key exchange for encryption and other security devices on point-to-point backbone and storage networks for business-sensitive data, even crypto-currency.

One of the most talked-about areas in Quantum is cryptography. Much of the interest in quantum computing was generated after the ground-breaking paper by Peter Shor in 1994, in which he provided polynomial-time quantum algorithms for factoring integers. Shor's algorithm is the pioneer quantum algorithm that achieved exponential speedup over classical algorithms and inspired other quantum algorithms.

In essence, Shor's algorithm may be used to break the RSA cryptosystem based on the hardness of factoring integers as a product of two co-prime numbers. It can also be used to break other cryptosystems based on the discrete logarithm problem (DLP), such as the Diffie-Hellman key agreement protocol and the Digital Signature Algorithm.

It is computationally and practically impossible for a classical computer to factor numbers longer than 2048 bits in a reasonable period. Hence, the RSA encryption uses the property, one of the most widely used cryptography methods in web technologies. Shor's algorithm, at least in theory, can break it in a reasonable amount of time. AES-128 and RSA-2048 both provide adequate security against classical attacks but not against quantum attacks. 

However, there are a few caveats. Firstly, a noise-tolerant quantum computer with many qubits is required to run Shor's algorithm efficiently. With all the advancements in quantum technologies, a quantum computer's qubit volume is 64 qubits, which is not sufficient to threaten the cryptography algorithm in use today. Secondly, today's quantum computers are NISQ (Noisy-Intermediate Scale quantum computers), which have inherent noise due to de-coherence and other factors that introduce noise in the results. Error correction in these quantum computers is still a field that is being pursued and perfected with time.

However, the data secured by these algorithms may still be at risk if someone makes copies of the data and waits for a time when quantum computers with enough capacity and capability are available. This scenario is especially threatening for defense, government, and large enterprises where data value may last several years. Even on a conservative scale, large quantum computers are expected to be available in the time frame of 3-7 years.

To evaluate the risk posed; determine the below:

How long does information need to be secure (x years) + How long will it take to equip existing infrastructure with quantum-safe solution (y years) 

If the above addition (in years) is more than the time until large-scale quantum computers are available (3-7 years), there will be a need to take immediate corrective actions. 

We have prepared comprehensive processes, practices, patterns, and roadmap for enterprises to ensure they are on the cutting edge of security while using industry standards for cryptography, including post-quantum cryptography.

Quantum Cryptography

Quantum computing inherent properties like entanglement and no-cloning provides excellent mechanisms for providing some intriguing quantum-based cryptography algorithms like BB48; which provides a natural protection against attacks. Many algorithms proposed for post-quantum cryptography are standardized by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in the 3rd NIST PQC standardization conference held on July 22, 2020. NIST announced seven finalists after evaluating about 80 algorithms (submissions) in 1st round in 2017. The standard is expected to be proposed by the year 2022-23. 

What can your organization do now?

  • Perform a quantum risk assessment within the organization 
    • Identify information assets and their current crypto protection 
    • Evaluate risk based on the calculator given above. 
    • Maintain awareness, and prioritize activities to migrate technology to quantum-safe algorithms 
  • Evaluate vendor products that feature quantum-safe features 
    • Be aware of products are not quantum-safe 
    • Prefer vendors and offerings that have quantum-safe features in procurement templates 
  • Develop an internal knowledge base amongst IT staff 
  • Track developments in quantum computing and quantum-safe solutions 
  • Establish a roadmap for quantum readiness for your organization
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