The Sunday Mail
CYBERSECURITY is not only a technical issue but also a human one. This is so because we all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and others from cyber threats.
The emergence of technology such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) has a dark side, as it can be used in crafting unique attack campaigns.
Sometimes we are so fascinated by the possibilities of emerging technologies that we neglect their negative impacts.
This week, I will explore how quantum computing, an emerging and disruptive technology, could pose a cybersecurity challenge.
Quantum computing is one of the most transformative technologies of our time, with the potential to revolutionise many industries, including cybersecurity.
It offers immense potential for various domains such as medical research and weather forecasting.
However, it also creates a serious challenge for cybersecurity, demanding a shift in how we secure our data.
Quantum computing poses a serious threat to current cryptographic protocols, rendering them obsolete.
This has forced the scientific community to research on new quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms and security products.
Quantum computers can perform certain types of calculations much faster than traditional gadgets, which could have a profound impact on the way we encrypt and protect data.
It is scary to think there are criminals doing “Harvest now, decrypt later” attacks, which could enable adversaries to steal encrypted files and store them until they can access quantum computers.
While we all anticipate the benefits of quantum computers for our society, some malicious actors are waiting to exploit them for their nefarious purposes.
One of the biggest concerns about quantum computing is its potential to break the encryption algorithms currently used to protect our data.
Many of these algorithms rely on mathematical problems that are difficult for classical computers to solve, but quantum gadgets could solve them in minutes or even seconds.
For instance, the RSA encryption algorithm, used to secure many online transactions, relies on the difficulty of factoring large numbers.
Quantum computers could factor these numbers much faster than classical gadgets, allowing attackers to decrypt RSA-encrypted data.
Other encryption algorithms, such as elliptic curve cryptography, are also vulnerable to quantum attacks.
However, some algorithms, such as quantum key distribution, are specifically designed to resist quantum attacks.
The threat posed by quantum computing to existing encryption algorithms has led to a call for the development of post-quantum cryptography.
Post-quantum cryptography algorithms are designed to be resistant to attacks from both classical and quantum computers.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is currently selecting a set of post-quantum cryptography algorithms to be standardised.
These algorithms are expected to be widely adopted in the coming years as organisations seek to protect their data from quantum attacks. In addition to the threat to encryption, quantum computing has other implications for cybersecurity.
For example, quantum computers could be used to develop new types of malware and attack vectors. They could also be used to break digital signatures and other security technologies.
However, quantum computing could also be used to develop new cybersecurity tools and techniques.
For example, quantum computers could be used to develop new methods for intrusion detection and prevention.
They could also be used to develop new encryption algorithms that are resistant to both classical and quantum attacks.
As more quantum computers emerge, organisations need to start preparing for the quantum computing era now. This includes:
- Assessing their cybersecurity posture to identify any vulnerabilities that quantum computers could exploit.
- Developing a plan to migrate to post-quantum cryptography algorithms.
- Investing in research and development of new quantum-resistant security technologies
Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionise cybersecurity, both for good and for bad.
Organisations need to start preparing for the quantum computing era by assessing their current cybersecurity posture, developing a plan to migrate to post-quantum cryptography algorithms, and investing in research and development of new quantum-resistant security technologies.
Quantum computing is an inevitable reality we are moving towards, so it is imperative to prepare your organisation now for this emerging threat, while also managing the other risks that affect your enterprise today.
John Tseriwa is a tech entrepreneur and digital transformation advocate focusing on delivering business solutions powered by Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. He can be contacted at: [email protected] or +263773289802.