Quantum Computing, Hackers & The Internet of Things

Quantum computers and the Internet of Things, are expected to revolutionise computing. Computers traditionally use bits to process information. But Quantum computing depends on bits that have properties of quantum physics called qubits. Traditional computing bits are either “0” or “1,” but qubits can be in both states at the same time.

They will have unprecedented power enabling them to crack the digital encryption system upon which the modern information and communication infrastructure depends. 

Quantum computing promises to address problems that conventional computing solutions cannot handle but potentially quantum could be used by criminals and hackers may soon be able to expose all digital communications by using advanced quantum computers. The Internet of Things (IoT) is likewise a developing technology with the incredible potential for new applications to emerge, brought to life through intuitive human to machine interactivity. The possibility for humans to interact in real time over great distances, both with each other and with machines will enable new opportunities that will prove uniquely powerful.

Problems
Like Quantum computing, the IoT is a major concern as it deals with data that are personal, needed to be reliable, can direct and manipulate device decisions in a harmful way. The IoT is vulnerable to numerous serious security threats, including data breaches, side-channel attacks, and virus and data authentication. 

According to the latest Thales Data Threat Report, 72 percent of the security experts surveyed worldwide believe that quantum computing power will affect data security technologies within the next five years. 

With the continuous development of technology and the desire to be connected to people and objects alike for more efficient, faster and easier way of doing stuff, IoT or the network of “smart” devices that collects and shares data to each other, and to humans as well, grew exponentially. This huge number of devices also means massive amount of data generated every single day. The challenge will then be on how all this data will be analysed and what knowledge can be derived. 

Security will also be a concern given that the devices are connected via the Internet and cyber-attacks have become more and more sophisticated as technology evolves.

Quantum Hackers
Tomorrow's quantum computers are expected to be millions of times faster than the device you're using right now. Whenever these powerful computers take hold, it will be a major step change A new report from the RAND Corporation explores the risks of this quantum-computing threat, as well as the efforts that could prevent it from exposing private data. The study is part of Security 2040, a RAND initiative that looks across the horizon to evaluate and analyze future threats.

Quantum computers use quantum physics to perform certain tasks faster than the computers we use today. Future devices will be able to solve problems that conventional computers would never be able to calculate—at least not in a lifetime, or even 100 million lifetimes. Because quantum computers on this scale don't exist yet, their true potential is unknown. But one popular prediction is that they will excel at simulating chemistry. Chemists may be able to use these computers to better understand how molecules behave and interact. This could lead to the development of new drug treatments, vaccines, and other scientific discoveries and these computers will also likely be crucial for applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The underlying technology is quantum physics; since a quantum bit (or qubit) can exist simultaneously in multiple states, it can be used to conduct a large number of calculations at the same time, significantly speeding up the resolution of complex problems.

Quantum computing will make current security mechanisms vulnerable to new types of cyber attacks, a real problem for both chip cards and complex technological systems such as networked vehicles or industrial control systems. 

It has the potential to break the crypto-graphic patterns widely used in Internet of Things data communication systems.
With the advent of quantum computers, modern encryption algorithms are undergoing an evolution that will significantly change their current use. In order to support the security of the Internet and other cryptographic-based technologies, it is necessary to increase mathematical research to build the cryptography of tomorrow, which is resistant to quantum attacks and will become known as post-quantum cryptography. Robust and future-proof security solutions are therefore necessary. 

Quantum computers can perform a large number of calculations at the same time, but in doing so, they generate excessive amounts of heat. Consequently, to be effective, they must operate at temperatures close to absolute zero. The modern use of cryptography aims to help ensure the confidentiality, authenticity, and integrity of the multiple data traveling in the IoT ecosystem, both the consumer and industrial one.

A classic computer attacker can use all the necessary means, such as artificial intelligence and increasingly powerful computers, to defeat security barriers. Depending on the results and tasks, an attacker may be willing to spend several months of work to break a cryptographic pattern. Developers must provide maximum security that is accessible and easy-to-integrate solutions.

Cryptography is used in many applications in automobiles and industrial control equipment. This aims to prevent the transfer of malware that could disrupt security systems and seriously endanger independent driving and production equipment.
Conventional encryption tools such as elliptical curve encryption are indestructible for today’s computers. However, with constant progress in the development of quantum computers, many encryption algorithms may become ineffective in the near future.

Cyber-attacks on industrial plants could lead to the theft of knowledge about production processes or to tampering plants with a loss of production efficiency. Over time, electronic systems will become increasingly more networked and information security will play a key role. In addition to security, a second factor in determining whether a cryptographic algorithm can be used in a given application environment is its efficiency. Performance takes into account not only processing speed but also memory requirements: key size, data expansion speed, signature size, etc. For example, schemes based on more structured mathematical problems tend to have reduced keys.

Improving the strength of encryption remains a goal for many IT security experts. As computers become smarter and faster and codes become easier to decode, a more advanced encryption mechanism is more urgently needed.

Conclusions
Quantum computing is still in its development stage with tech giants such as IBM, Google and Microsoft putting in resources to build powerful quantum computers. While they were able to build machines containing more and more qubits, the challenge is to get these qubits to operate smoothly and with less error. But with the technology being very promising, continuous research and development is expected until such time that it reaches widespread practical applications.

By dramatically reducing the time required to solve the mathematical problems that today's encryption relies on to potentially just seconds, it will render cyber security as we know it obsolete. 

That could have grave consequences for adequateky securing almost every aspect of 21st century life, especially if cyber criminals or other malicious hackers gain access to quantum technology that they could use to commit attacks against personal data and critical infrastructures.

EET Asia:      EE Times:     AZOQuantum:     Science Direct:     IEEExplore:     

ZDNet:       RAND:      RAND:        RAND:       Ericcson:     New Scientist:


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