CISOs need to begin investigating the use of quantum-proof cryptography to ensure security is maintained when extremely powerful quantum computers that can crack current encryption are implemented, says Professor Alexander Ling, principal investigator at the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore.
A quantum-proof key cannot be guessed by a quantum computer, while encryption in its present form can be easily broken by quantum computers, Ling says in an interview with Information Security Media Group.
Quantum-proof keys can be deployed in current computer systems, not just quantum computers, Ling explains. And because quantum computing could become commonplace soon, companies need to promptly invest in quantum-proof encryption, he contends.
Quantum key distribution, a method for securely transmitting a secret key over distance that’s based on the laws of physics, enables two parties to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages.
Ling says one of the key features of a quantum key is that it’s easy to detect if it has been intercepted by a third party.
“The process by which the photons are distributed can be shown to be tamper proof. Quantum particles are actually very sensitive to disturbances,” Ling says. “So if there was an eavesdropper who was manipulating the photons in order to extract the information content, this eavesdropper would actually disturb the information that is carried by the photons.”
In this interview (see audio link below image), Ling also discusses:
- Progress made in quantum key distribution;
- Technological challenges in quantum-proof cryptography;
- How quantum keys are being deployed.
Ling is principal investigator at the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore. He leads a team that aims to bring quantum instruments out of the lab and into field deployment. His team has deployed instruments in diverse environments, ranging from Singapore’s urban fiber networks to satellites in space. He formerly worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States.