Q-Day, also called “Quantum Day” is the day when quantum computers will successfully break the internet.
Q-Day sounds like a threat because it indeed is. It marks a point in time when quantum computers will solve complex problems that conventional computers cannot solve in a reasonable amount of time.
Why does that matter to all of us?
The standard encryption used to safeguard the present-day internet is designed such that classical computers cannot decrypt the security code (in a reasonable amount of time). But quantum computers can!
Standard cryptography protects almost everything in our lives, including our personal email and banking, businesses, government entities, the health industry, and public infrastructures. As our world has become increasingly digitised, our exposure to something that can break said cryptography can pronounce disaster if it falls into the wrong hands.
No one knows when Q-Day will occur, so there are only estimates at this point. But it seems we might be late. The news of Chinese researchers cracking the code is already doing the rounds.
Why do we need quantum-security?
As ludicrous as it might sound, the machines that don’t yet exist endanger our future communications and our current and past ones. Data thieves, who have been practising the “harvest now, decrypt later” philosophy, can potentially view everything from our medical histories to our old banking records. Let’s say that Q-Day happens in 2025; everything you have done on the internet up until that day will be at someone’s disposal.
The risk is grave enough for an “internet makeover” to limit the damage if Q-Day indeed happens. That means switching to stronger cryptographic systems, or cryptosystems. Fortunately, decades of research in quantum physics and computer science have created several possibilities for securing sensitive data. The post-quantum algorithms seem impervious to attacks. They use mathematical approaches that take quantum computing into account, and programmers have not yet found ways to defeat them in a reasonable time.
The most bullish proponents of quantum computing say we will have to wait a while until the machines are powerful enough to crack encryption keys, but we at QNu Labs disagree. We believe the Q-Day is much closer than most people anticipated.
Quantum Cryptography – An Opportunity
Whether Q-day happens or not, the possibility of code-breaking quantum machines has already changed computer science, in particular, the ancient art of cryptography.
The quantum mechanics' property of randomness allows us to build Quantum Random Number Generators (QRNG). Classical computers cannot compute real random numbers, but they are critical for advanced cryptography. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) encrypts the keys in some degree of freedom of the elementary particles that follow the laws of quantum mechanics.
QRNG and QKD have the potential to revolutionise cybersecurity by offering unprecedented levels of security due to the fundamental properties of quantum systems.
QNu's range of quantum-based products covers end-to-end security across the entire data-based paraphernalia. From quantum-based encryptions to entropy enhancement services, QNu covers all security bases.
QRNG and QKD have wider applications. It won't be long before we see them implemented across the internet channels.
If all goes to plan, the internet will be well into its post-quantum era by the time computing enters its quantum era. This post-quantum internet could someday be followed by quantum internet: a network that uses the principles of quantum physics to make information exchange hacker-proof.
Researchers estimate that to break cryptosystems, quantum computers will need 1,000 times more computing components (qubits) than they currently do.
But that is no reason to be complacent. Fully transitioning all technology to be quantum resistant will take time. Whenever Q-Day happens, gadgets somewhere will still be vulnerable.
It’s time you start today!