A hybrid approach and risks to security -- quantum computing predictions for 2023

quantum computing

Quantum computing holds the promise of much faster processing speeds but is still widely viewed as still being some way in the future as a commercial proposition. It could boost machine learning and AI, and unlock the power of unstructured data.

Of course quantum also comes with security challenges thanks to its potential to crack passwords and break encryption. Here's what industry experts expect to see happening in the quantum world in 2023.

Bob Sutor, vice president and chief quantum advocate at ColdQuanta thinks there are synergies between quantum and machine learning. "Machine learning will be used to optimize the performance of quantum sensors, while quantum sensors will enable new classes of machine learning algorithms for discovery within, and adaptation to, the sensors' environment. Very different from the big data applications of machine learning and quantum computing, machine learning together with quantum sensing will bring about new capabilities in real-time sensing and signal processing."

Security in quantum and other emerging technologies will be a critical enabler in their adoption, thinks Kieran Norton, Deloitte's US transformation and emerging technology leader in cyber and strategic risk
"As application of IoT, Blockchain, 5G, Quantum and other technologies continue to accelerate, cybersecurity risks associated with these technologies continue to become evident. Adoption of these technologies will be instrumental to many organization’s strategic growth initiatives, however, their sustained success will be based on organization’s ability to navigate and implement appropriate technology security measures."

Brian Neuhaus, CTO, Americas at Vectra, worries that encrypted data stolen now could be stored for use in a post-quantum world. "It's easy to know the motive of a cyber-attack in incidents such as ransomware, but what about the incidents we don't detect, or involve data we are assured is safe from decrypting? Advances in quantum computing will force the hand of security leaders in 2023 to start thinking about this sensitive encrypted data in a post-quantum world. However, this approach will also grab the attention of attackers, and instead of bypassing encrypted data that was previously safeguarded, they will attempt to grab the data and keep it stored for sale or to be later decrypted. Defenders should not rest on the laurels of encryption and start to take note of what NIST is doing in post quantum encryption this year for action in the coming years."

Silvio Pappalardo, chief revenue officer at QuintessenceLabs, echoes this view. "Quantum computers may be five to 10 years away, but the risk from quantum exists today. We are already seeing most large cloud providers have market-ready 'quantum-as-a-service' tools, but this is not enough. These organizations and others must have fill-blown quantum encryption in place to be safe in the next-generation of computing."

Fred Rivain, CTO of Dashlane, suggests a quantum future is nearer than we might think. "The quantum domain is evolving quickly, and a breakthrough is on the horizon. As this technology accelerates, the infrastructure security and cryptographic algorithms used to secure the internet are at stake. It's critical for businesses and organizations to start preparing for this world now. Organizations will need to be adept at supporting both types of cryptography simultaneously and manage the transition from pre-quantum to post-quantum algorithms -- our team at Dashlane is working on this, and we recently successfully prototyped quantum-resistant sharing in our Android app and web extension. We’ll be sharing additional learnings along the way and encourage organizations to check out our open-source project to test how well they can migrate to post-quantum cryptography with real-world conditions."

Matt Watts, chief evangelist at NetApp, believes a hybrid approach will start to make quantum more accessible. "Quantum hybrid computing will start to move from ideation toward practical application, problems such as elements of AI will be broken out and passed over to quantum systems for processing, we'll start to see a blend of traditional HPC and Quantum to solve some of these most complex issues. This will also force us to better address cybersecurity. Companies need to think about data encryption now more than ever. Bad actors are increasingly sophisticated, and companies need to be equally sophisticated when it comes to their security measures. While this won’t happen overnight, the wheels have been set in motion for quantum to be a threat to encryption on sensitive data. For example, imagine designing and building a military fighter jet, which can take more than a decade. Then it's in service for 20 years and all the data associated with the plane and its missions remains classified for another 20 years. That data needs to be protected for upwards of 50 years. And a bad actor only needs to steal that data once during that protracted timeframe and wait for the necessary Quantum power to decrypt to catch up. We need to be thinking much, much more carefully about how we protect data today, from simple data theft to more advanced kind of encryption and decryption techniques. Normal computers, even high-powered computers, would take decades to 'break' these encryption algorithms. Quantum will be able to break many existing forms of encryption in less than a decade so new encryption protocols and algorithms need to be adopted sooner. While I'd predicted that companies would look to quantum to address more complex computing challenges in 2022, I'm pleased there is this level of progress and forward thinking within cybersecurity and a cloud-based approach to solving security issues that once seemed unsolvable."

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