Last month, IBM Quantum unveiled Eagle, a 127-qubit (quantum bit) quantum processor. This is a significant breakthrough, since before Eagle, the most powerful quantum processor on record was the Zuchongzhi, which boasted a 66-qubit processor. Passing this 100-qubit mark is an important milestone on the path to making quantum computing a mainstream reality.
While cause for celebration, this breakthrough is also a reminder of an important truth: the ready availability of quantum computers will pose a substantial threat to today’s cryptographic algorithms, the backbone of modern cybersecurity. According to VMware Senior Staff Researcher David Ott, a mature quantum computer could crack a private cryptography key from its public key counterpart in a matter of hours.
So, is Eagle actually a harbinger of doom? Not if we, as an industry, come together to prepare for a future where many of our current cryptographic algorithms don’t work.
The National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) has been working diligently with the research community to select and standardize a new set of quantum-safe cryptography algorithms. Post-quantum cryptography, or PQC, is intended to replace our current public key standards (RSA, EC, DSA, and ECDSA) with new standards that will be resilient in the face of tomorrow’s adversaries, who will leverage scaled quantum computers once they become available.
So how do we migrate from our current standards to adopt new ones? Check out David Ott’s blog post, Kicking Off Your Organization’s Action Plan for Post-Quantum Cryptography Readiness to learn how you can help your organization get started.