(EIN.Newswire) For now, asymmetric public-key encryption systems, like that of Rivest-Shamir-Adleman’s (RSA), can barely protect the world’s data from bad actors, being a relatively slow algorithm and one of the oldest cryptosystems. Moreover, as the world waits for quantum computers that will be accessible and commercially available, organizations and governments everywhere must prepare for a harsher reality: current cryptographic defenses that are supposed to secure their data will not be against these bad actors.
Once a sufficiently powerful quantum computer becomes commercially available, these cryptographic defenses will collapse very quickly. The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine predicts that a powerful quantum computer with around 2,300 qubits could crack an RSA 1024 encryption in less than a day.
Without strong, quantum-safe cryptography, bad actors with access to quantum computers can target data that power all kinds of modern applications. Vadim Lyubashevsky, a cryptography researcher with IBM, completely agrees, claiming that “somebody could be harvesting the data now” so they could “decrypt them later”. Alarmingly, this means that hackers are already collecting or stealing data from businesses and governments while waiting for a quantum computer to become available. Once it is available, they can use it to decrypt the previously encrypted sensitive data for malicious purposes.
Businesses and governments must take action as soon as possible to protect their data now. They must define their ‘data storage’ timeline to figure out which data will just be around for a few years, versus which data will retain value for at least thirty years. Simply put, they must start thinking about quantum-proof cryptography methods sooner, rather than later, if they do not want to be sorry.