Should we fear a quantum apocalypse?


Quantum computers will work at unprecedented speed and efficiency in the future, but they could also bring huge risks. The stakes are high: our bank accounts, entire countries' defence systems and critical infrastructures could be at risk if the technology falls into the wrong hands. That is why it is essential to develop quantum-safe encryption to prevent a quantum apocalypse.

Quantum computing is a new field based on quantum theory that uses subatomic particles,such as electrons or photons. Quantum computing has the ability to scan huge amounts of data in a short time and find potential solutions to complex problems and challenges. In June this year, a study was published in the Nature, about a quantum computer which solved a complex calculation task in 36 microseconds that would take the current fastest computer nearly 9,000 years.

While regular computers store information as bits of 0 or 1, quantum computers use quantumbits (qubits), which can be in quantum state 1 or 0, or in superposition of states 1 and 0. As with the behaviour of quantum particles, the probability of 0 or 1 depends on the quantum state of the qubit at the time of measurement.

Quantum computers are built very differently from classical devices, for example they have no memory or processor, the components are sensitive to the slightest vibrations and can only be operated in extremely cold conditions, so it could be many years before they are in widespread use. But in the future, quantum computing could provide a huge boost to industry, information security or scientific research. Many countries are already investing huge sums in the development of super-fast quantum computers to gain a strategic advantage in this field.

The internet stores a lot of data about us, from online purchases to banking transactions and social media interactions. Of course, this is currently protected by encryption, but once in the wrong hands a quantum computer could easily access humanity's entire data set in a matter of seconds, emptying bank accounts and shutting down government defence systems. Experts call this a quantum apocalypse, because such an attack would cause incalculable damages worldwide.

Developing quantum-safe algorithms is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Fortunately, developments for the post-quantum era have been going on for years with both the largest tech companies and smaller specialist firms working on a solution, a form of encryption that can withstand attacks from quantum computers. The aim is to develop a standardised defence strategy that will protect industry, governments, academia and critical national infrastructures from the threats of the quantum apocalypse. This is a very expensive, labour-intensive task with serious environmental implications, but there is no alternative if quantum resilience of data centres is the goal. In its work, ViVeTech is also constantly examining the cyber defence market and adapting to the latest challenges, and ViVeSec software is being developed accordingly.

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