Quantum computing is a relatively new area of computing that is based on the principles of quantum mechanics. It is fundamentally different from classical computing, which is based on classical physics and the use of binary digits (bits) to represent information. In quantum computing, the basic unit of information is a quantum bit (qubit), which can exist in multiple states simultaneously.
The potential advantages of quantum computing are numerous. Quantum computers have the potential to perform certain types of calculations much faster than classical computers. This is because they are able to take advantage of certain quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, which allow them to process multiple computations at the same time.
Quantum computers are expected to be able to break many of the cryptographic protocols that are currently used to secure online transactions, including those used for secure communication, online banking, and e-commerce. At the same time, quantum cryptography is expected to provide more secure methods for protecting data transmission.
Quantum computing’s increased computational capabilities come with a heavy price for some “late adopters.” The moment when quantum computers achieve the ability to break public key (and other types of) encryption in a few hours has been given a name: Q-Day. When Q-Day arrives (estimated at five to twenty years from now), any data or systems still protected by public key encryption will become vulnerable. The results could be catastrophic.
Imagine that you are driving to school to pick up your children. You stop at a gas station to fill your tank and discover that your credit card won’t work. You go to your bank to withdraw some cash and find out that your checking account has been emptied. You pick up the kids, and when you’re headed home, you narrowly avoid a collision at a major intersection because all four traffic lights are set to green. Finally, your smart car loses all power and coasts to a stop, because an account with supervisory control has told it that you are an unauthorized driver.
The end result of losing control could be much worse than random annoyances. Electronic warfare is in progress at all times these days, perpetrated by nation-states who would love to do harm to your country. Imagine classified military information being stolen, your country’s financial transactions destroyed, and its critical infrastructure networks compromised. For example, there is a certain building in a certain city in Arizona where the workers have control of all of the circuit breakers that connect the state’s power plants to the power grid. A malevolent outside group could cause a total power blackout.
The good news is that companies can “migrate their network architecture to quantum-resistant cryptography and methods” right now. As the old saying goes, hope is not a strategy, so let’s keep an eye on this issue and remember that it’s potentially very serious.
Q-Day: The problem with legacy public key encryption
Quantum Computers: What Is Q-Day? And What’s the Solution?
Quantum Tech Needed To Secure Critical Data From Quantum Decryption
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THIS WEEK IN STAR TREK HISTORY
1941 – Andrea Dromm is born.
1969 – The New York Times publishes NBC’s fall 1969 broadcast schedule. Among the current NBC series slated for cancellation is Star Trek.
1915 – Fred Freiberger is born.
1963 – David Anthony Marshall is born.
20 February1926 – Richard Matheson is born.
1936 – Marj Dusay is born.
1938 – Richard Beymer is born.
1951 – Edward Laurence Albert is born.
1967 – Justin Louis is born.
1988 – Rihanna is born.
1897 – Celia Lovsky is born.
1937 – Gary Lockwood is born.
1955 – Kelsey Grammer is born.
1961 – Martha Hackett is born.
1970 – Dayna Devon is born.
1928 – Paul Dooley is born.
1944 – Tucker Smallwood is born.
1966 – A New York Times article lists Star Trek as a part of NBC’s fall 1966 schedule, airing Friday nights from 10pm to 11pm.
1968 – Jeri Ryan is born.
2000 – Celia Rose Gooding is born.
2019 – Morgan Woodward dies.
1932 – Majel Barrett is born.
1923 – Fred Steiner is born.
1940 – James Sloyan is born.
1949 – Evelyn Guerrero is born.
1958 – Mark Moses is born.
1963 – John Goodson is born.
1983 – Tawny Newsome is born.
2015 – Maurice Hurley dies.
2022 – Sally Kellerman dies.
The United Federation Starfleet Blog is written by Fleet Captain Hal Jordan and is published every Friday. Join in the discussion! Engage with us on Discord at: discord.io/ufstarfleet