What Is Quantum Encryption Used For?

Do you remember the scare of the impending year 2000 when people feared a worldwide failure of computer systems? Dates expressed as two-digit values would turn over to zero. This problem was known as the “Y2k crisis.” These fears turned out to be unfounded when we entered the new millennia without a global disaster.

Today, there is some concern about a new age of computing that could pose a threat to computer security. This emerging epoch is the “quantum computing” age, and scientists believe it will enable computers to perform decryption of security systems with power that boggles the mind.

Today’s encryption technology relies on the difficulty of cracking codes that are far too difficult for the most powerful computers to accomplish, even if they’re given billions of years and infinite energy to tackle the problem. Scientists believe that these incredibly difficult encryption problems could soon become relatively easy to crack with a type of computer that is based on a strange new device called a “quantum computer.”

Quantum computing has been a far-fetched concept ever since it was proposed in 1981 by the famous theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. Doctor Feynman was noteworthy for helping to prove that quantum physics is humankind’s best theory of how the universe works.

In recent years, top tech companies have been in a race to create a commercially viable quantum computer. Earlier this year, a new breakthrough was announced by a leading tech company that could prove that the power of quantum computing cannot be disputed. This milestone is what the tech world has dubbed “quantum supremacy.”

Quantum supremacy is achieved when a quantum computer solves a problem that no normal computer could solve, even if it were given 10,000 years to work on the problem. This includes machines such as the Summit supercomputer that broke the world record by surpassing the “exaop” level, which is a quintillion operations in one second. That’s a million trillion calculations.

It seems undeniable that it’s no longer a question of whether commercially viable quantum computers will emerge, but when they will emerge. Some researchers believe that they’re just a few years away. You won’t be able to buy one to carry around with you like a laptop very soon, but some of the biggest tech companies are developing quantum computers that will boost their data centers and networked platforms.

What is a quantum computer?

The short answer to this question is quantum computers perform calculations using “qubits” rather than traditional bits. The computer devices that people carry around such as smartphones and laptops all perform calculations with regular bits. The word “bit” is an abbreviation for “binary digit,” which means a bit has only two possible values: zero or one.

All the operations that a device carries out is performed by processing strings of zeroes and ones at an incredibly fast rate of trillions of calculations per second. However, the potential of this type of computation is limited by the amount of energy that a tiny processor chip can use. This limit is completely shattered when you introduce qubits as the basis of computation.

What is a qubit?

A qubit performs a role similar to a classical bit because it is a single unit of information expressed in values of zero or one. However, a qubit has the strange ability to exist in a state of both zero and one at the same time.

How is a qubit able to do this? A traditional bit is a microscopic semiconducting transistor that holds either a small electrical charge or a larger one. The low voltage state is the zero value, and the higher voltage is the one value. Processor microchips contain billions of these microscopic transistors that flip on and off to create complex strings of binary numbers.

Qubits, on the other hand, are a much stranger beast. A qubit is a quantum particle such as an electron or a photon. These subatomic particles exhibit weird behavior that scientists are still striving to understand. One of these quantum behaviors is the ability to be in two states at the same time, such as spinning both clockwise and counterclockwise simultaneously. This phenomenon is known as “superposition.”

It completely defies logic, but scientists have proven that superposition is real. Not only that, but these quantum behaviors have already been used to perform computations that no normal computer could do. And these quantum processors are tiny in size, unlike the supercomputers that fill a room the size of a high school gymnasium.

Without getting too technical, scientists have been developing methods of using qubits to perform parallel processing on an unprecedented level. For example, when you combine only 300 qubits, it’s like having more computers working together than there are atoms in the entire known universe. This is due to the incredible power of exponential growth in computing power. When you add more qubits to the chain, you get exponentially greater computing power with each new one.

Of course, to truly understand how these quantum computers work, having a PhD in computer science might not even enable you to fully grasp the nuances of it. Only the most elite scientific minds have accomplished progress in this field.

What is quantum encryption?

Even with the enormous power of the largest supercomputers, today’s standard of encryption for bank accounts and other high-security protocols are far too difficult to crack. However, with the birth of the quantum computer, the technology that safeguards financial accounts and personal information could be easily bypassed. If such power got into the wrong hands, the consequences are almost too frightening to contemplate.

So now that we have these frighteningly powerful computers being born in the next few years, we need to protect our computer security from some malicious agency that could possibly get their hands on one. All of the world’s money exists in the form of digital data stored on encrypted bank computers. If anyone could hack these computers, it could be a disaster greater than any that humankind has faced for centuries. Researchers are working on technology that could provide security that is safe against quantum computers. That solution is what’s known as “quantum encryption.” However, this is still a new topic and until scientific posters are put out by researchers, common folks might not be able to grasp the idea fully. But needless to say, many online resources have been updated with information about this tech. Perhaps, going through them might help.

Truth be told, quantum encryption from a place such as https://www.crownsterling.io/ is a very new concept in computer science. One solution is being developed by telecommunications researchers who are collaborating with top universities across the globe. It’s called quantum key distribution (QKD). This technology is a new way to transmit data that doesn’t need encryption to keep data safe from hackers. It accomplishes this with a strange quantum property of light called “quantum indeterminacy.”

This concept takes advantage of the ability of photons to exist in two places at the same time, which scientists call “superposition.” The current implementation of the technology sends pulses of light through a fiber-optic cable. The photons resolve into a string of zeros and ones that can act as a key that can decrypt a stream of data. Because of the nature of particles in a quantum state called “quantum indeterminacy,” it’s impossible for an outside observer to see the data stream in transit.

It’s possibly similar to what any encryption software or device does i.e., provide end-to-end encryption so that no intruder can decode the data. For instance, VPN encryption (application) and ecc sky (communication network) can be used in mobile to secure the data, chats, and other private information from getting into the wrong hands. ECC Sky might also customize your mobile to provide features such as a double ratchet algorithm, unique encryption keys to decrypt the messages and emails, etc., to make your device breach-proof. However, “quantum indeterminacy” is still a new concept and not that popular, for now.

It might be many years before a quantum computer is developed that can hack into bank servers, but researchers understand that countermeasures need to be in place long before this is possible. As new strides in quantum computing develop, new security measures are sure to keep up. The development of encryption over the history of computing has shown that security has always remained a step ahead of hackers, and it’s a safe bet that the same will be true in the new age of quantum computing.