Meet cybersecurity’s nightmare fuel: Quantum hacking

Quantum hacking will completely compromise the existing security infrastructure of the internet. Arqit is building a solution.

June 15, 2021

If you thought phishing attacks were bad, wait until you hear about quantum hacking.

Arqit, a London-based startup, is preparing the corporate world for a future where no secret data is safe.

The startup specializes in post-quantum encryption (we’ll get there), and is raising $400m in a planned public listing with a SPAC.

It’s big money for a problem that…

… is likely 10 years off by Arqit’s own account. But quantum hacking could completely change cybersecurity.

The way most digital companies and services keep data safe is through a 1970s technique known as PKI, or public-key infrastructure.

The cryptographic technique uses prime numbers and a mix of “public and private keys” — the same tech powering crypto.

Enter quantum computing

This is a term used to reference computing that uses the state of atoms (superstition, entanglement, etc.) to compute as opposed to silicon switches like today’s computers.

The result is a computer so powerful that it’s able to break PKI.

Many services on the internet use PKI to keep information like financial transactions, web browsing, and emails safe. By rendering PKI obsolete, the entire internet becomes susceptible to hackers.

Arqit is developing post-quantum forms of encryption

The startup uses technology that is unbreakable even for the fastest quantum computer.

The challenge is convincing businesses to prepare for the transition before they get burned, because no one really knows when a full-fledged quantum computer capable of cracking encryption will exist.

IBM plans to build a 1000-qubit processor — 10x larger than the largest today — by 2023. Still, that’s 1000x smaller than what will be needed.

So you can sleep well… for now.

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