What encryption does for us?
Encryption secures digital information (data) using mathematical techniques and a key which is used to decrypt the data. Without encryption, the inherent trust we place in storing or transmitting data - from our personal information (PII), financial and healthcare data, voice and video communications, to our government’s most closely held military strategies or manufacturing processes, would be at risk.
Why Quantum Encryption is critically important?
Quantum Computers utilize the laws of quantum mechanics and enabling them to solve certain classes of complex calculations much faster than conventional computers. Quantum-Safe encryption is encryption that can be run on today’s conventional computers AND is secure against attacks from both conventional computers and powerful Quantum Computers. To emphasize the difference in computational power, it would take a conventional computer roughly 300 trillion years to break 2,048-bit encryption, and a Quantum Computer (with 4,099 qubits) about 10 seconds
Vulnerabilities & Weaknesses without Quantum Encryption?
Most all current encryption is threatened by a Quantum computers’ exponentially faster processing speed. When used by cybercriminals or our nation state adversaries Quantum Computers can factor, or breakdown, the product of very long numbers. This mathematically difficult process is the basis used by all popular forms of data encryption.
How are our adversaries taking advantage of those not using Quantum-Safe Encryption?
Both CISA and the FBI have stated that our nation state adversaries have been and continuing their use of large scale cyberattacks referred to as “Data Harvesting” (or Steal Now-Decrypt Later) and have warned us about the immediate and long-term risks to our data security and way of life.
Why using Quantum-Safe Encryption today is worth the investment?
Long-running industry breach reports have stated that the average cost of data breach, to a U.S. company, is now over $8 million dollars. Their analysis also points out that one of the single best investments (highest R.O.I.) an organization can make in cybersecurity - is in utilizing encryption on an organization-wide basis.
Stephen Wallace, systems innovation scientist at DISA (which serves as the Pentagon’s combat IT support agency) pointed out in late 2020 that the organization (DISA) intends to accelerate its security efforts as he sees quantum computing to become a real risk in the foreseeable future. “Frankly, our adversaries likely won’t advertise the fact that they’ve achieved a quantum computer, we have to have crypto algorithms in place prior to that to allow us to continue in a safe position.”
The takeaway here is that the threat of Quantum Computers is being leveraged today, and that data encrypted using non-Quantum-Safe encryption/cryptography will be at risk of decryption sometime in the coming future. Stephen Wallace, systems innovation scientist for the emerging technology directorate at the Defense Information Systems Agency said in Dec 2020 “