Recent breakthroughs in the development of Quantum Computing are forcing IT Security Managers to rethink their cryptographic standards. In February D-Wave Systems, a spin-off from the University of British Columbia, exhibited and demonstrated a 16 Qubit Quantum Computer. Since then, many top CISOs have decided it’s time to start exploring Quantum-immune cryptographic solutions.
Quantum Computing renders many of our existing cryptographic systems insecure. What it doesn’t break immediately, it will weaken considerably. Public key algorithms, which underpin most of our e-Commerce, are particularly vulnerable. It may be quicker to break some keys than to generate them. Symmetric key systems will be less affected but we will probably have to double their key length.
We may still be many years from experiencing the impact of Quantum Computing on our business operations. But it takes a long time to change our cryptographic systems. Brand new solutions might take a decade to develop, evaluate, adopt, commercialise and implement. Distributed legacy systems don’t easily accommodate deep-seated, across-the-board changes. It took a major effort to upgrade our banking systems from single to triple DES. It will require a much bigger one to rethink the basis of our e-Commerce security.