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"Quantum Computer Solving Crime: Is Quantum Computing the Future Of Cybersecurity?" by Rita Rin

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Quantum Computer Solving Crime:

Is Quantum Computing The Future Of Cybersecurity?

Rita Rin, Monroe College



Abstract: Rapid progress in quantum computing has the potential to alter the nature of cyber security radically and the technological landscape as a whole. This study sheds light on where quantum computing is headed as a possible indicator of where cybersecurity is headed in the future. While traditional computing approaches have succeeded in many areas, they must improve when applied to cybersecurity. Traditional methods must catch up to cybercriminals' sophisticated strategies and constant innovation. By utilizing quantum mechanics to perform information processing in fundamentally new ways, quantum computers emerge as a potentially fruitful solution. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the revolutionary potential of quantum computing in the field of cybersecurity by delving into the unique features of quantum technology.


Part of this discussion involves looking at where we are now with quantum computers and determining what that means for cyber security. When solving difficult problems, quantum computers' remarkable ability to process massive amounts of data simultaneously gives them a distinct advantage. Due to quantum computers' superior computational power, traditional cryptographic algorithms, which have been cornerstones of cybersecurity, may become quickly obsolete. The paper examines the current state of affairs and critically evaluates the dynamics of quantum technology's interaction with current cybersecurity measures. This research highlights how quantum computing can improve online safety, raising hope for a more secure digital future.


Alongside the potential of quantum computing is the understanding that cyberattacks are becoming more common and sophisticated as the digital age progresses. The threat landscape is growing more complex and dangerous as more and more sectors and societies adopt digitalization. It is not just smart but essential to prepare for future cybersecurity threats. This paper highlights the importance of simultaneously addressing the growing risks of cyberattacks and recognizing the ongoing research in quantum computing. The foundation for a successful symbiosis between quantum technology and robust cybersecurity measures can be laid by encouraging a comprehensive understanding of the evolving cyber threat landscape. In light of the rapid development of quantum computers, this research highlights the importance of taking preventative measures by encouraging individuals, businesses, and governments to innovate, adapt, and work together to guarantee the safety of future digital exchanges.



 

Introduction


Over the past few decades, the digital world has transformed remarkably, ushering in unprecedented changes that have remodeled our approaches to interpersonal communication, business, and commerce. As much as this quick growth has opened up incredible prospects, it has also given rise to a new breed of challenges in the form of adaptable and persistent cyber threats. Cybersecurity experts are always on the front lines of the battle to keep sensitive information and vital systems online in the face of new and emerging dangers. Emerging at the same time as these shifts is quantum computing, a relatively new development with the potential to revolutionize the cybersecurity industry. A quantum computer's superior computational power gives it a leg up on traditional computers, allowing them to quickly and accurately solve complex problems. In this paper, we look into the intersection of quantum computing and cybersecurity, exploring how the former has the potential to alter the latter radically.


For this paper, we will concentrate on the far-reaching effects that quantum computing will have on cybersecurity. Based on the intricate principles of quantum mechanics, quantum computers outperform their classical counterparts thanks to several unique properties. Quantum computers' properties mean they have the potential to radically alter the methods currently used to detect, prevent, and investigate cyber threats. By exploiting the phenomenon of superposition and tapping into the power of entanglement, quantum computers can solve challenging algorithms and equations at speeds that surpass traditional computational limits. This research sheds light on how quantum computing is altering the landscape of cybersecurity by examining its fundamental ideas, outlining its advantages and disadvantages, and speculating on how it might be implemented to bolster online defenses against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.


Quantum Supremacy


Quantum computing is at the vanguard of an evolution brought about by the unstoppable march of technology, which has ushered in revolutionary changes across many fields. Many people are intrigued by quantum computing, but also must realize it represents a significant departure from classical computing rather than merely an extension. IBM (International Business Machines, Corp.) claims that quantum computing, which uses the mysterious laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems beyond the capabilities of classical computers, is a rapidly emerging technology (IBM, 2019). Quantum computers can be considered a "supercomputer" that is called into action to solve problems that are too difficult for traditional computers to solve.


In cybersecurity, where criminals are constantly improving their methods for penetrating online defenses, the shortcomings of classical computers have become painfully obvious. Traditional cybersecurity measures, such as cryptographic algorithms, rely on the difficulty of certain mathematical problems to encrypt data. Traditional cybersecurity protocols are useless against the immense computational power of a quantum supercomputer, which can quickly break these cryptographic algorithms. Quantum computing offers a promising avenue to this end, and there is an immediate need for novel methods of digital defense.


Quantum parallelism and entanglement are the foundations of quantum computing's potential to revolutionize cybersecurity. As a result of quantum parallelism, it is now possible to perform multiple computations simultaneously, which is something classical computers can only aspire to do in the future. This property arises because the principle of superposition permits quantum bits, or qubits, to exist in a superposition of states at the same time. Quantum entanglement, on the other hand, makes it possible for quantum states of physically separated particles to be instantly correlated with one another. Using this remarkable phenomenon, quantum key distribution (QKD) protocols can generate unbreakable encryption keys. According to the NSA (National Security Administration), QKD makes it easy to detect any attempt to tamper with or eavesdrop on cryptographic keys because it uses the unique properties of quantum systems to generate and disseminate them (Allende et al., 2023). We can see the deep connection between quantum entanglement and cryptography by applying it to this context.


There will be some difficulties in implementing quantum computing into the current state of cybersecurity. Although it has enormous potential, the application of quantum computing to cybersecurity is still in its early stages. Many obstacles must be overcome before this technology can fulfill its transformative potential, such as software bugs, hardware maintenance, and scalability issues. The creation of quantum-resistant encryption methods that can withstand the computational might of quantum computers is a major area of focus. The ever-evolving nature of cryptography is exemplified by the persistence of researchers and developers hard at work on new algorithms (Allende et al., 2023). In addition, a mixed approach is required on the road to understanding the effect of quantum computing on cyber security. The gap between quantum computing's theoretical promise and its implementation in cybersecurity may be bridged by hybrid techniques combining classical computing with quantum systems. This combined method considers where quantum computing is and at the same time, still preparing the ground for its smooth incorporation into today's digital infrastructures.


In sum, the future of quantum computing holds tremendous potential for radically altering the state of cyberspace. It has the potential to solve difficult problems that classical computers cannot, thanks to the phenomenon of quantum parallelism and quantum entanglement, which give it unprecedented computational power. Combining quantum mechanics and cryptography may lead to novel approaches to protecting private data and ensuring the confidentiality of electronic communications. However, there are obstacles that remain and a concerted effort is needed to overcome them so that the full potential of quantum computing can be utilized in cybersecurity. The advent of a new era in digital defense is on the horizon as ongoing research and development bring us closer to a world where quantum supremacy is a practical reality, increasing the safety of digital-age individuals, communities, and economies.


Cybersecurity Era


The software has many layers of code, and the internet has three layers of code, sometimes called "dark energy.” Dark energy, in astrophysics, is a mysterious form of energy that makes up a substantial portion of the universe but is not directly observable; in this context, the term "dark energy" is used metaphorically to refer to layers of the internet that are not readily visible or commonly interacted. The analogy to invisible forms of energy highlights that the public may need to be more familiar with or aware of these aspects of the internet. The infrastructure, protocols, and systems that keep the internet running might fall into this category; they do their work behind the scenes and are rarely noticed by end users. Comparable to how we can infer the influence of dark energy from its effects on cosmological expansion, these hidden internet layers can be inferred from their effect on the internet's overall structure and functionality.


Data scientist Denis Shestakov uses an iceberg analogy to describe the three main layers of the World Wide Web: the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. Only about 4% of all online content is publicly accessible via search engines; the remaining 96% is not indexed and can only be accessed by those with the proper credentials. Bypassing this authorization allows threat actors access to sensitive data such as financial records, medical records, and legal documents stored on the dark web (National Institute of Justice, 2020). In addition to breaking into databases, some criminals use the dark web for other heinous activities like drug trafficking, buying and selling unregistered weapons, illegal trades, and more.


On the other hand, ANONYMITY is the primary motivation for participating in the Dark Web. The Dark Web is used by people who want to remain anonymous online while hiding sensitive information or engaging in illegal activities. Due to the changes in the digital landscape, security risks and the number of cyberattacks have increased. However, there may be severe repercussions for such carelessness. Academics, businesses, institutions, and quantum computing entities are increasingly at risk as the pursuit of quantum computing gains traction as a prime target for advanced persistent threats, cybercriminals, and hacktivists. According to researchers, there is a key role for threat actors, motivated by their own unique goals and objectives, in every cyberattack. As digitalization and connectivity grow globally, so does the cybercrime ecosystem, with many criminal organizations providing resources to threat actors and adding to the sophistication of cyber threats (National Institute of Justice, 2020). Data exfiltration, ransomware, and malware-as-a-service work in tandem with one another.


As time progresses, the cybercrime ecosystem has grown to include numerous illicit services. Cybercriminals offer services like wire fraud and cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as the recruitment of victims, the development of web injection kits or exploitation networks, the delivery of spam emails, and other similar activities. It has been determined that the development of quantum computing is a matter of national security significance because of its importance to the advancement of science. Because of this, progress in this area is critically important and urgent. There will likely be a rise in the dependability, quality, and accountability of quantum computing providers as their availability and economic viability grow. The downside is that this progress makes these systems more susceptible to attack from cybercriminals (National Institute of Justice, 2020). The goal of these bad actors, whether theft, extortion, or damage, is to make money - so that they may target these systems.


Trust in Quantum Computers


As a negative side effect of the quantum computing revolution, a nuanced dynamic develops between the shifting nature of technology, the allocation of scarce resources, and the varied goals of hacktivists. Competing interests often make it difficult to decide how to divide available resources. It is possible that hacktivists, who are motivated by a wide variety of ideologies and agendas, would protest the selection of certain projects as top priorities. Scientists are working hard to develop public-key methods that can withstand the decryption attempts of quantum computers. However, progress in quantum computing offers a promising avenue for bolstering digital trust.


These techniques were developed as a coordinated response to an impending threat posed by the unprecedented computational power of quantum computers, which could render today's cryptographic mechanisms useless. These initiatives to strengthen cryptographic defenses aim to keep the current level of trust intact and restore any lost faith in vital aspects of our digital lives. Certification authorities, digital signatures, and encrypted messages are all part of these building blocks. According to Shamshad et al., (2022), The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology is a shining example of proactive participation; they carefully assess sixty-nine potential new approaches in "post-quantum cryptography." The institution's proactive stance suggests it plans to establish new norms immune to quantum computers' computational power. A proposed standard from this effort is expected by 2024, and it promises to infuse future digital infrastructures with strong protections against growing threats. While cryptography is undoubtedly important, it is important to remember that it is only one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. Even though encryption is incredibly powerful, it cannot provide full immunity to human vulnerabilities and mistakes. The harsh reality is that even with top-notch encryption, attackers can still find ways to break in, such as when users click on malicious links or open malicious email attachments. The invincible shield of encryption can also be breached by flaws in the underlying software or malicious actions from within the organization.


This contrast illustrates the complex interplay between technological advancements and human nature in cybersecurity. The threat of powerful quantum computing entering the scene casts a looming security shadow, compelling us to look ahead with foresight. Given the lengthy processes involved in implementing new standards, preparations must be made for quantum-resistant cryptography as soon as possible. We must develop new cryptographic methods and strengthen our cybersecurity in all areas to prepare for the quantum computing era (Lewis & Wood, 2023). This strategy relies on strong encryption, user education to reduce the likelihood of mistakes, secure software development procedures to prevent flaws, and vigilant monitoring to detect intrusion attempts as soon as they occur.


To summarize, the ever-changing ecosystem of quantum computing calls for a concert of efforts to bolster trust in our digital interactions. The road to secure digital landscapes is complicated, from the determined efforts to develop post-quantum cryptographic solutions to the intricate interplay between encryption and human vulnerabilities. The revolutionary possibilities of quantum computing are intertwined with the requirement of an all-encompassing cybersecurity strategy that can adjust to a constantly shifting threat landscape. When properly combined, technological innovation, foresight, and collaborative preparation are keys to preserving confidence in the digital realm and launching a safe, quantum-powered future.


Preparing for the Quantum Future


The promise of a quantum future brings exciting possibilities and formidable obstacles. At the forefront of this discussion is a wide range of scientific complexities and engineering achievements necessary to realize the enormous potential of quantum computing. However, as appealing as they may seem, building a quantum computer is a challenging feat. The principle of coherence time (central to physics) presents a significant obstacle. On the other hand, significant technical obstacles exist to overcome, most notably the daunting requirement for scalability or the ability to orchestrate many qubits to perform useful quantum operations. Improvements in system fidelity and correction of errors are ongoing priorities for the efficient operation of quantum computers.


According to Brandhofer et al. (2021), NISQ (noisy intermediate-scale quantum) refers to the current era of quantum computing, characterized by quantum computers with moderate computational power but struggling with system instability. There is still a long way to go before quantum computing reaches maturity, as evidenced by the unstable nature of current quantum computers and the ongoing pursuit of error correction. Despite these complexities, the development of quantum computers will soon intersect with cybersecurity, ushering in a new era of threat detection and analysis.


Quantum computers, as we know them today, are still in development, but they show promise as hybrid system co-processors. We foresee a cooperative partnership between quantum and classical computers, with the former taking on specialized mathematical workloads while the latter supports the overall process. The importance of cybersecurity has skyrocketed in a world where cyber threats are constantly expanding. Quantum computers' unparalleled computational prowess could lead to significant changes when detecting and analyzing threats. Despite widespread skepticism, the widespread belief persists that quantum computers will present a formidable obstacle to the status quo of cybersecurity paradigms and encryption techniques.


Scientists may have different opinions but cannot change the underlying fact, “quantum computers are nothing more than advanced conventional computers." Quantum machines' unrivaled ability to quickly analyze intricate patterns directly results from their capacity to process vast data streams simultaneously. The fact that the advancement of quantum computing is motivated by a desire to improve machine learning and AI only serves to increase these technologies' potential influence. Cybersecurity professionals can be better prepared for potential vulnerabilities with the help of algorithms running on quantum computers, which can sift through massive datasets and identify new threats.


Furthermore Price et al. (2020) states, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is crucial to how quantum computing and cyber security interact. This method's role in maintaining privacy and security in the quantum world is crucial. Man-in-the-middle attacks would fail to gain access to the secret key because any attempt to steal it would be immediately uncovered. As a result of this fundamental property of QKD, digital communications are more reliable, secure connections are strengthened, and the groundwork for quantum-resistant encryption is laid.


As the quantum future develops, the opportunities and threats it poses are intertwined. There is a delicate tango between scientific advancement and engineering challenges that will eventually lead to the emergence of quantum computers as formidable tools in many fields, including cybersecurity. Improvements in error correction and the removal of existing roadblocks are crucial for the development of quantum computing. Combining quantum abilities with cybersecurity opens new doors for spotting and stopping cyberattacks. The dynamic interplay between quantum and classical systems hints at a future where the best of both worlds will be harnessed to make the digital world safer for everyone. While there are still many obstacles to overcome and a long way to go, the marriage of quantum computing and cybersecurity highlights the vitality of technological progress and the necessity of staying ahead to protect our digital future.


Conclusion


In conclusion, quantum computers have the potential to alter the future of cyber defense dramatically. The unprecedented computational power and capabilities made possible by quantum mechanics' quantum parallelism and quantum entanglement have the potential to impact the future of cybersecurity significantly. Despite the drawbacks of classical computing methods, quantum computers can break traditional cryptographic algorithms; this opens the door to developing quantum-resistant encryption protocols. Quantum computing is still in its infancy, but it shows great promise. As a result, hybrid systems that take advantage of the benefits of both approaches are being developed, with quantum computing serving as a co-processor. When discussing cybercrime and trust, it is essential to consider quantum computing. As the threat landscape in the cyber world evolves, sophisticated security tools, such as a supercomputer, will become increasingly important. Experts have spent the last few years perfecting "quantum-safe" encryption in case commercial quantum computers become available at any point.


Many experts believe that quantum computers will revolutionize cybersecurity in three key ways: by making it easier to spot threats, improving cryptography, and opening up new encrypted communication channels. While there are certainly obstacles and concerns that must be addressed, the progress in quantum computing offers promising solutions for a safer digital future. By working together across fields, we can make the internet a safer and more secure place to work and better prepared to deal with cyberattacks and other forms of cybercrime.


References


Allende, M., León, D. L., Cerón, S., Pareja, A., Pacheco, E., Leal, A., Da Silva, M., Pardo, A., Jones, D., Worrall, D. J., Merriman, B., Gilmore, J., Kitchener, N., & Venegas-Andraca, S. E. (2023). Quantum-resistance in blockchain networks. Scientific Reports, 13(1), 5664. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-32701-6


Brandhofer, S., Devitt, S., Wellens, T., & Polian, I. (2021, April 25). Special Session: Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) Computers -- How They Work, How They Fail, How to Test Them? ArXiv.org. https://doi.org/10.1109/VTS50974.2021.9441047


IBM. (2019, January 23). IBM Unveils Groundbreaking Quantum Computing System. IBM Nordic Blog. https://www.ibm.com/blogs/nordic-msp/ibm-unveils-groundbreaking-quantum-computing-system/


Lewis, J. A., & Wood, G. (2023). Quantum Technology: Applications and Implications. Www.csis.org. https://www.csis.org/analysis/quantum-technology-applications-and-implications


National Institute of Justice. (2020, June 15). Taking on the Dark Web: Law Enforcement Experts ID Investigative Needs. National Institute of Justice. https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/taking-dark-web-law-enforcement-experts-id-investigative-needs


Price, A. B., Rarity, J. G., & Erven, C. (2020). A quantum key distribution protocol for rapid denial of service detection. EPJ Quantum Technology, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1140/epjqt/s40507-020-00084-6


Shamshad, S., Riaz, F., Riaz, R., Rizvi, S. S., & Abdulla, S. (2022). An Enhanced Architecture to Resolve Public-Key Cryptographic Issues in the Internet of Things (IoT), Employing Quantum Computing Supremacy. Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 22(21), 8151. https://doi.org/10.3390/s22218151


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