Will Quantum Computing Spark Cybersecurity Armageddon?

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IBM claims that quantum computers will wreak havoc on the world of cybersecurity by the end of the decade, and governments and businesses are not prepared.

Ana Paula Assis, IBM’s general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa, spoke on a panel at the World Economic Forum, where she said: “Is quantum going to really create a cybersecurity Armageddon? It’s going to.”

According to Techxplore, quantum computers are an emerging technology that is going to vastly accelerate processing power by performing calculations in parallel rather than sequentially, thus making existing encryption systems obsolete. IBM has actually developed many of the technologies that will be foundational for the quantum era, which according to Assis could arrive by 2030.

Some governments are starting to take this threat seriously, like the US Senate that passed a bill in 2022 with a unanimous vote addressing the threat of quantum computers on cryptography.

Businesses nowadays are not equipped to utilize quantum machines or even deal with the disruption they will cause, as Jack Hidary, Chief Executive Officer in SandboxAQ, said on the same panel while warning that Quantum computing is developing faster than anticipated.

Hidary added that companies do not have a robust roadmap yet as to how they’re going to use AI and quantum together to solve core problems. He even said that this is an unfolding “trainwreck” and estimated that it will take banks eight to 10 years to transfer to post-quantum protocols, while scalable quantum computers will be available by 2029 or 2030. He concludes that anything that uses encryption, from e-commerce to online banking, is at risk.

Some additional highlights from the panel include China reportedly making “a very serious and very confident effort along many lines” in quantum computing, and the claim that states may be better able to regulate quantum computers than artificial intelligence because the technology is so dependent on infrastructure.