How Quantum Computers Will Break Encryption Standards
Blockchain. Bitcoin. Ethereum. SSL. Am I pressing your buzzword buttons yet? What about qubits and quantum computing? Still following?
Quantum computing is the next step in the evolution of computing. For those of us just coming to grips with the fact that everything happening on your digital screens comes down to ones and zeros, this coming advancement will be even harder to grasp at the lowest level. No longer are we just dealing with binary, off/on switches, but qubit particles that can be off, on and numerous states in between. Apparently, unlike classical computers, simply adding more bits to a quantum processor is not enough. We need better qubits and better cooling.1
When Will Quantum Computers Replace Classical Computers?
The answer is probably not for a long time, if ever. There may always be a place for our binary, electrical computers to work along-side of quantum computers. As of now; you would need quite a bit of expensive equipment just to use a quantum processor.
The difficulty of running a quantum processor, like all computers, is heat management. However, unlike classical computers, in order to properly control the qubits, the processor has to be cooled to near absolute zero. The real conundrum is; theoretically, the perfect quantum computer would be cooled to exactly absolute zero. According to an article on nature.com: scientists have cooled potassium gas to levels below absolute zero. they noted: “Exotic high-energy states that are hard to generate in the laboratory at positive temperatures become stable at negative absolute temperatures.”2 This sounds like the conditions needed for quantum computing.
Below is a graph that depicts the exponential growth we have experienced in computing power. While the classical computer would basically flat-line at some point, this is where the transition to quantum computers will come in. The graph is showing; by about 2050 we will have the computational power of all human beings thinking as a unit.
The way I see it, there is a parallel graph going on at the same time for quantum computing. It’s a slow, steady rise, but in the next few years it will shoot up at an exponential rate and become the computing standard. When this happens, all current encryption standards will be broken.
The Current Standard and The Paradigm Shift
Google is currently urging (with warnings through their popular Chrome browser) that all sites encrypt their traffic with SSL. Secure Socket Layer uses an encryption standard based on factoring prime numbers. Quantum computers will be able to perform these calculations in a matter of seconds. The Bitcoin blockchain is also based on this kind of algorithm. Bitcoin is the world’s most popular crypto-currency. As of today, the total market value is sitting at over $100 billion!3
Whenever there’s that much money involved you can bet people are going to make things happen to keep their money. The problem is; so many people bought into Bitcoin who have no idea how it works.
Here at Lampros Labs we’re working on projects with the intent to stay ahead of the quantum problem. In the not-so-distant future the encryption paradigm will shift to a quantum-proof standard. Quantum-proof crypto-currencies will be the only ones of value. The current SSL encryption will be wiped out and certificate authorities will have to issue SSL certificates with quantum-proof encryption algorithms.
In the meantime; be sure to contact Lampros Labs to help you keep your site friendly and secure for Google Chrome users!