Could quantum computing be next, greatest threat to cyber security?

Published on: 11 Dec 2019

A cyber security expert has warned that more research needs to be done into quantum computing in order to prevent it becoming a threat to all the encrypted computer systems currently on the internet.

President of the American Mathematical Society Dr Jill Pipher gave a briefing at the US Capitol Hill facility called No Longer Secure: Cryptography in the Quantum Era, in which she talked about the danger that quantum computing could pose should the theory behind them become reality.

Where ordinary computers work with bits that are either off (zero) or on (one), quantum computers work with bits that can have a value or one, zero, or both. This means they are faster and more efficient at many kinds of calculations.

Dr Pipher said if quantum computers do come to fruition within the next decade or two, all current encrypted data could become decrypted, unprotected and accessible to individuals, businesses and governments.

"The future of powerful quantum computing threatens the cryptographic infrastructure that we've spent decades developing. We need a lot more research in this area, first to realise the power of quantum computing, and [secondly] to protect against the perils," CSO Online quoted her as saying.

Earlier this month, a report in the Financial Times suggested Google may have built a quantum computer, but this has not been confirmed.