We all know by now that I am not the most cybersecurity technical person in this industry. I am constantly learning new things about cybersecurity. Before this latest podcast episode of Reimagining Cyber, Inside the Fight to Protect Data from Quantum Computers, I had no clue there was a thing called quantum computers. The closest thing I knew about quantum computers was the quantum realm from The Marvel cinematic universe. So, you can imagine that this episode was an eye-opener for me!
During this latest Reimagining Cyber podcast episode, Stan Wisseman and Rob Aragao talk to Terence Spies, CTO of CyberRes Voltage, about the future of quantum computers. Spies has had countless years of experience when it comes to working with cryptography engineering, encryption, and quantum computers. Spies actually architected the original Microsoft CryptoAPI and Certificate Server!
Spies started by providing a background about quantum computers and what we should expect to see in the years to come. Spies states, “the world is changing, and one of those changes that people are anticipating is that there’s going to be this fundamentally new kind of computer that’s going to alter the way that we have to think about cryptography in terms of throwing away whole classes of algorithms we use now.” These new developments will help us encrypt our data to new levels while helping prevent cyber-attacks and keep our data private.
Though these new quantum computers will be our future, that does not mean that attacks will disappear. There will still be quantum attacks. Spies goes into detail about how quantum attacks will fall into two categories, the good news and bad news kind of attacks. The good news is that a generalized search algorithm is being used and is highly counterintuitive. This allows you to search a list within the square root of the list’s length time. Spies says it is “a little mind-blowing because what it means is that (you) can search a list of any size without looking at all and things without having to take N steps to do it.” The bad news is the other algorithm that is being used, Shor’s algorithm. Sadly, this means we can’t make the key size big enough to make the attackers’ job hard anymore. Don’t get discouraged yet, though; the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has been spending the past six years working with cryptographers around the world to create a sort of quantum computers superhero league to find the algorithms that are not vulnerable to these attacks and will help solve this problem!
You may be alarmed by this, but Spies wants to assure you that he is not an alarmist. Spies points out that the current threats might be taken care of before quantum computers are even released to the public. NIST is showing much progress, and Spies advises organizations to “make sure that you’re not wielding in dependence on particular algorithms and have that sense of agility.” This episode just reaffirms that those in the cybersecurity space need to adapt to anything and everything happening now and in the future.
CyberRes is a Micro Focus line of business focused on helping companies protect, detect, and evolve their security framework and helping organizations become more cyber resilient. To learn more, visit CyberRes.com.