A Qubit of Solace: How QKD Systems Defend Against Future Cyberattacks

Every industry is on high alert when it comes to cyber attacks, and rightly so. A cyber attack can halt business, add unexpected costs to mitigate, damage a company’s reputation and more.

Cybercriminals can take many forms: They may steal your credentials; they may pilfer personally identifiable information or they will cut to the chase and directly threaten your bank and investment accounts† And no sector or individual is immune to the threat of a cyber attackbut it seems recently that the focus has been geared toward the financial sector andin particular, on obtaining cryptocurrency.

permanently securing the blockchain has, to date, proven to be unattainable. A recent report from chainalysis on cryptocurrency crime trends found that $14 billion in cryptocurrency was sent to illicit addresses in 2021, nearly double the figure seen in 2020. today, securing networks and customer data traversing those networkswhich increasingly includes blockchain networks, is top of mindHowever, organizations competitively focus on tomorrow’s threats as well† prime among those future threats is the concept of quantum computing attacks.

Qubits Versus Binary: Quantum Computing at a Glance

Quantum computing leverages the principles of quantum mechanics–a world in which particles can exist in more than one state at a timeto solve the most complex problems quicklyFuturist Bernard Marro sums it up best for the layperson

Instead of bits, which conventional computers use, a quantum computer uses quantum bits—known as qubits. To illustrate the difference, imagine a sphere. A bit can be at either of the two poles of the sphere, but a qubit can exist at any point on the sphere. So, this means that a computer using qubits can store an enormous amount of information and uses less energy doing so than a classical computer. by entering into this quantum area of ​​computing where the traditional laws of physics no longer apply, we will be able to create processors that are significantly faster (a million or more times) than the ones we use today.

The financial industry will greatly benefit from quantum computingthere is an abundance of high-complexity financial use cases that can be solved more efficiently and accurately with quantum computing. JP Morgan Chase, for instance, has produced new quantum algorithms for use cases such as portfolio optimization, option pricing, risk analysis and numerous applications in the realm of machine learning, ranging from fraud detection to natural language processing.

On the flip side, quantum cOmputing can also be used to try to break through the most robust of defensesrepeatedly testing a defense in an effort to break through. While full-scale quantum computing is not here yet, it is at least on the foreseeable horizon, and, with it comes the competitor threat or quantum computing attacks. However, with regard to the latter, quantum techniques can also be applied to Help defend against such attacks

The Emergence of QKD

Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a technique for secure communication that enables two parties to produce a shared random key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages. QKD is provably secure against an eavesdropper attempting to copy the secret key and since it does not rely on public-key techniques removes many attack threats posed by quantum computers against the key exchange. The QKD security benefits are rooted in the laws of quantum physics.

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