Global Risk Institute calls emerging quantum computing technology major threat to cybersecurity systems

September 6, 2016

Acording to a report from Toronto-based Global Risk Institute, emerging quantum computing technology threaten to undermine cybersecurity systems installed by businesses and governments.

The report says that there is a one in seven risk that these technologies will undermine critical public-key cryptography tools within the next ten years, and says that there is a 50 percent risk that many of these tools will be obsolete by 2031.

The report, called A quantum of prevention for our cybersecurity, was researched and written by Dr. Michele Mosca, a special advisor on cybersecurity to the GRI, co-founder of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, and a founding member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. “Quantum physics has surely been one of the most unexpected threats to cybersecurity,” Dr. Mosca said. “As we learn to handle attacks from currently familiar sources, cyber criminals are finding new ways to attack our cyber systems.”

According to Mosca, the threat comes the ability of quantum computing to execute tasks beyond the reach of conventional computers; existing computers use long strings of “bits” that encode either a 0 or a 1, while quantum computing enables the bit to embody the 0 and 1 states at the same time. By manipulating a large collection of quantum bits, known as qubits, a quantum computer can process countless configurations of 0s and 1s simultaneously.

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