How Quantum Computers Could Break Our Best Cyber-Defenses: Simplified

May 14, 2024

“Quantum computers”….sounds complicated and alarming, right?

It doesn’t have to be astrophysics. Let’s break down what quantum computers are, what they’re capable of, and what that all means for our cybersecurity defenses in the future…and make it easy enough for anyone to understand, without a degree in quantum mechanics.

Imagine a super powerful computer that can crack today’s best safes (encryption) with ease. That’s kind of what quantum computers could do for cybersecurity.

Regular computers, like good code breakers, can try different combinations to open a safe, but it would take them forever for some safes (encryption methods) because of the complex math involved.

Quantum computers, meanwhile, are like super code breakers. They use the complexities of quantum mechanics to open the safe much faster, potentially in a matter of hours. This is a big deal because most of our online security relies on encryption to keep things confidential. If quantum computers can crack those codes, it would be like having unlocked doors everywhere.

Thankfully, quantum computers are still young, and aren’t yet powerful enough to break most encryption that we use today. However, its existence poses a clear threat to all of our current cybersecurity!

Quantum computers can break encryption methods at an alarming speed. This renders ineffective widely used encryption tools that protect everything from banking transactions to business data and emails; hence quantum threats could lead to increased data breaches of sensitive health and financial information.

Digital documents relying on current encryption methods may lose their integrity. Certain cryptocurrency encryption could be compromised.

What makes the super-tech so dangerous? Quantum-powered attackers could decrypt HTTPS connections, compromising secure communication. These attacks might expose HTTP and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates that rely on non-quantum-proof encryption techniques. These computers can even potentially forge the tokens that guarantee a website is secure; that certificate of security is what turns an HTTP site into HTTPS, and puts the little lock and shield beside a URL in the entry field.

(Psst! That’s what you can find in this page’s URL!)

Thankfully, I.T. experts are constantly working to find new solutions to the most modern threats that plague our digital society today. They’re researching and adopting quantum-resistant crypto algorithms; developing encryption methods that remain secure, even against quantum attacks; exploring quantum key distribution for more secure communications; and evaluating our current capabilities to better address quantum threats in future risk management strategies and best practices.

In summation? The quantum threat challenges our existing security structures and capabilities…but we are not hopeless against this growing, complex threat! Organizations must prepare today to limit their exposure and vulnerability to emerging quantum threats. As quantum computing advances, so must our defenses!

What can you do, personally and professionally? Continue to educate yourself about the latest security threats and cyber-defenses, because preparing yourself is the best way to prevent and expose threats before they become serious exploits. Staying safe means staying informed, and by reaching the end of this blog, you’ve just taken your first step toward better cybersecurity, every day.

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