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Chinese Breakthrough in Quantum Computing a Cybersecurity Warning for Security Teams

By IQT News posted 09 Dec 2020

(ThePost) Chinese researchers have claimed quantum supremacy using a quantum computation called Gaussian boson sampling (GBS), their paper explained, which uses particles of light sent through an optical circuit, measuring the output. This means there are now multiple proven quantum-computing technologies, with surely more to come.
The security concern is that quantum computers will be able to crack RSA public key cryptography, used to protect data in transit. That means security teams will have to pivot to new post-quantum cryptography solutions. A conservative estimate from a 2019 DigiCert report said teams will need to have protections from quantum computing breaches in place by 2022.
“While such quantum computers are not a threat to encryption today, they do remind us that the day is coming when that will no longer be true,” said Tim Hollebeek, industry and standards technical strategist with DigiCert . “It is important that security professionals start planning for the transition to post-quantum cryptography, as such transitions take many years to plan and implement. The Chinese result probably does not materially change predictions of how soon that will be, but leading organizations still expect it to come within the next 10 years or so. So, it is important to start preparing now.”
To be clear, quantum computing isn’t there just yet. And the Chinese aren’t any closer to being able to decrypt RSA than Google or IBM, but it’s only a matter of time, according to experts.
John Prisco, from Safe Quantum Inc., said the ability for quantum computing to beat RSA is the goal, not the claims of quantum supremacy.
“China’s GSB approach is interesting but cumbersome to implement,” Prisco told Threatpost. “Quantum supremacy is not the prize at the finish line. If it were, Google and IBM finished light years ahead of China’s claim. The finish line is a quantum prime computer capable of breaking encryption as we know it.” He added when it comes to widespread implementation, the Chinese approach has challenges.

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