Quantum Cryptography: An Overview of the Future of Encryption
If you’re familiar with the encryption methods that are used today, quantum cryptography will blow your mind.
Just as it sounds like, quantum cryptography uses quantum mechanics to encrypt messages. It’s set to revolutionize the way encryption is done.
But how does it even work and can it be used in real-world applications? Let’s find out!
What is Quantum Cryptography?
Quantum cryptography is the application of quantum computing in messaging encryption. Using quantum’s multiple states, messages can be encrypted in a way that only the recipient can read them.
Quantum cryptography requires a quantum computer, a largely theoretical type of computer that has massive computing capabilities.
What is Quantum Key Distribution?
Quantum Key Distribution is the use of quantum communication to create a shared key between the message’s sender and the receiver.
As opposed to traditional encryption, quantum cryptography relies on the principles of quantum mechanics to secure messages, not mathematical computation, providing a higher level of security than current public key encryption algorithms.
How does Quantum Cryptography Work?
Quantum cryptography relies on photons for data transmission. A photon, in simple terms, is a single particle of light. Photons represent binary bits that are transmitted via fiber optic cables.
Why Quantum Cryptography is Important?
One of the most notable advantages of quantum cryptography over traditional cryptography is that it makes complex computing problems easier and faster to solve.
For example, quantum cryptography is capable of breaking encryption types in the public key infrastructure (PKI) pretty quickly.
How to Defend against Quantum Cryptography?
There are two ways to defend against quantum cryptography, which include using longer keys (2048 bits or longer) and protecting messages with symmetric encryption, and using asymmetric encryption for the keys (like the TLS standard).
Benefits of Quantum Cryptography
Some of the advantages of quantum cryptography include:
- Better security for internet communication as it relies on the laws of physics.
- Can detect eavesdropping, enabling the receiver to request another key.
- Provides various security methods.
- Virtually unhackable as the quantum states change rapidly.
- Offers multiple methods for security.
Limitations of Quantum Cryptography
Currently, the drawbacks of quantum cryptography include:
- Can only be used in short distances.
- Very expensive to implement on a scale.
- The technology is practically still not here yet.
- Photon polarization might be impacted in the traveling medium.
Is Quantum Cryptography used today?
Despite being so potentially powerful, quantum cryptography is rarely used today due to technology-related limitations.
One quantum key requires a single-photon laser beam signal through a fiber optic cable. Only one photon goes through at a time, making this process slower than current communication methods. Not to mention, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) requires a dedicated fiber optic cable between the sender and the recipient, which complicates things further.
Physical distances are also limiting the use of quantum cryptography, as fiber optic cables require repeaters to transmit data across oceans. These repeaters can’t be used for QKD.
Differences between Traditional Cryptography and Quantum Cryptography
What’s the Difference between Post-Quantum Cryptography and Quantum Cryptography?
Post-quantum cryptography is a term that refers to traditional cryptographic algorithms that rely on public keys. These algorithms might be vulnerable to quantum attacks.
On the flip side, quantum cryptography is an encryption technology that uses quantum mechanics to encrypt messages, making them impossible to hack.
Types of Quantum-Safe Certificates
There are 3 types of quantum-safe certificates, which can be summarized in the following table:
How to Migrate to Quantum-Safe Certificates?
To migrate to quantum-safe certificates, follow these steps:
- Migrate to quantum-safe PKI infrastructure.
- Update server cryptographic algorithms.
- Update client cryptographic algorithms.
- Install quantum-safe roots on all existing systems.
- Install quantum-safe certificates for all devices.
- Reject traditional encryption algorithms, as well as RSA and ECC certificates.
Automate Quantum-Safe Certificate Management
Automating quantum-safe certificate management enables businesses to adapt their cryptographic approach to the rapidly-developing quantum-safe cryptography methodologies.
Businesses can use automation tools, like Sectigo Certificate Manager and Digicert, to update certificates with quantum-safe certificates with little to no involvement from their side. These tools also make it easier to discover new certificates and certificate renewals.
The Future of Quantum Cryptography Implementation
Quantum cryptography is still considered in its early development phases, but after it’s polished and ready, it’ll make all other encryption methods obsolete.
Once quantum cryptography becomes more accessible, many businesses will switch to it to provide more advanced protection for their data.
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Now, you should be more familiar with the basics of quantum cryptography.
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