70% of global organisations say quantum computing a threat to security

70% of global organisations say quantum computing a threat to security
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21 Oct, 2019

About 71% of global organisations see the emergence of quantum computers as a threat to security, says a study by US-based technology company DigiCert.

More than half of the respondents (55 %) said quantum computing was somewhat to extremely large security threat today. 

About 83% of respondents said it is important for IT to learn about quantum-safe security practices, according to a statement from the company. 

Quantum computing works on the principles of quantum physics, a branch that describes the nature of subatomic particles. Unlike traditional computers that use binary ( 0 and 1), quantum computers rely on quantum bits or qubits. These qubits can exist in several possible states. 

Since quantum computers are still a long way away, the threats about their security are not widespread. The new study, however, points out that the security issues around these computers can become reality in about three years. 

Quantum computing, given its ability to compute large amounts of data in a short of span of time, can severely undermine the current encryption systems. Companies use what is known as public-key cryptosystems to secure data transmissions for anything from banking to communications. Quantum computing can give hackers a way to break the encryption defences. 

Analysts had earlier assumed that post-quantum cryptography (PQC), an algorithm which is thought to be secure against an attack by a quantum computer, would take years to be used against these threats. But, researchers now predict that PQC might be used as early as 2022. 

“It is encouraging to see that so many companies understand the risk and challenges that quantum computing poses to enterprise encryption,” said Tim Hollebeek, Industry and Standards Technical Strategist at DigiCert, according to a statement. 

Enterprises have started preparing for quantum computing, with a third reporting they have a PQC budget and another 56 percent working on establishing a PQC budget. Monitoring is one of the top tactics currently employed by IT.

The DigiCert 2019 Post Quantum Crypto Survey also pointed out the top three best practices for companies to follow to combat security threats. These include knowing the risks and establishing a quantum crypto maturity model; understanding the importance of crypto-agility and working with vendors to establish digital certificate best practices. 

The survey was conducted by ReRez Research and was based on data from 400 enterprises.  Organisations in the U.S., Germany and Japan from across critical infrastructure industries participated in the study.