With quantum, digital security enters the era of paradox

Posted Sep 15, 2022, 9:31 AMUpdated on Sep 15, 2022 at 9:47 am

When it comes to digital security, defenders and attackers take turns taking advantage of small advances in technology. But what will these classic advantages be worth the day when quantum computers will be able to decrypt our secure communications, also called by some Q-Day? The anticipation of this radical imbalance brings out three paradoxes.

The paradox of progress: threat or opportunity for security?

The great fear is that cybercriminals are now collecting valid long-term data (biometrics, plans, patents, etc.) while waiting to be able to decipher them one day using quantum technology. Faced with this sword of Damocles of “hack now, decrypt later”, which calls into question the very notion of a trusted digital space, companies and public authorities must mobilize without further delay to better protect communications and data. However, the emergence of new technologies promises some security on the quantum level: first, a new mathematics-based post-quantum cryptography (PQC) is being developed that remains “unbreakable” even for quantum computers. Second, physics-based cryptography, called quantum key distribution (QKD), is emerging as an alternative for ultra-secure communications. While PQC is based on the principle that no efficient (quantum) algorithm has been found to “break” it, QKD allows to detect the interception of secure keys, and to guarantee their secure transmission.

The paradox of action: waiting too long or acting too quickly?

In organizations, thinking about quantum is still embryonic. But how to become professional on a barely emerging technology? To experiment and not fall behind cybercriminals, companies will be able to rely on a teeming ecosystem of start-ups, higher education and research establishments and industrial groups as well as on the resources of hyperscalers, which allow to access quantum machines via the Cloud. The answer will also depend on the collective dynamics that will be put in place, notably through new training and research programs, and close collaboration within the quantum ecosystem.

The geopolitical paradox: universal issue or question of sovereignty?

Like any major technological breakthrough, quantum computing will benefit society all the more if there is an international framework and standards. But behind the necessary scientific, technical and regulatory cooperation, there is fierce competition between states, which expect significant advantages from quantum technology, and not only on the economic level. While many countries around the world are investing massively, France is aiming for leadership in Europe with a 1.8 billion euro five-year plan launched in 2021, and a fertile ecosystem of startups (Pasqal, Alice and Bob… ) and in research laboratories.

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Jeanne Heuré, Vice-President – ​​Head of Strategic Services on Digital Trust & Security, Capgemini Invent
Clement Brauner, Quantum Computing Lead, Capgemini Invent
Nicolas Gaudilliere, Chief Technology Officer, Capgemini Invent
Capgemini Invent is the digital innovation, consulting and transformation brand of the Capgemini group.

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With quantum, digital security enters the era of paradox


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