(WSJ.com) A significant portion of the sensitive data we have today is going to be cracked by foreign powers in the not-too-distant future. The danger comes from an ultrapowerful and still-experimental technology called quantum computing. China has already launched the equivalent of a Manhattan Project in order to achieve this end, say experts, and companies like Google, Microsoft and IBM are all pushing ahead with their own efforts to create quantum computers.
China and Russia are hacking every system they can get into, including banking, health care, military and intelligence, and downloading huge troves of data. The information is currently indecipherable to them, but could become intelligible with quantum computers.
Researchers and security agencies are trying to beat foreign governments to the punch by coming up with quantum computers and new encryption methods as quickly as possible. But they face technical stumbling blocks, such as coming up with standards for researchers to use and then rolling out new measures in time.
The good news is that many of the smartest mathematicians and cybersecurity experts in the world, employed by Google, Microsoft, IBM and the federal government, as well as many other tech giants, are well aware of the problem and have been cooking up solutions for years.
They’re working on a completely different scheme of encryption, called quantum-safe encryption.