Quantum Computing. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Quantum Computing And The Future Of Encryption

Arqit’s CEO David Williams on how today’s cryptographic protections fall short – and where the future lies.

Charlie Osborne

London – May 12, 2022

Quantum computing is still in the early stages but has the potential to revolutionize how we protect data and enterprise networks.

Data, whether at rest or in transit, needs to be protected. Mandates, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), attempt to enforce basic data protection standards.

However, organizations not only have to consider encryption but also staff training, account credentials being leaked or sold, and the increasing scope and sophistication of today’s cyberattackers.

David Williams is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Arqit. In an interview with Cybercrime Magazine, the executive said Arqit was launched as the “current technologies which keep our data safe are very badly compromised.”

The executive believes that current forms of encryption, including ​​public key infrastructure (PKI), are “obsolete” and contain implementation vulnerabilities that are “easy to exploit.”

According to Williams, we can do better — and quantum computing is the answer to emerging encryption security challenges.

Arqit is the developer of a platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution, QuantumCloud, designed to utilize quantum encryption to protect enterprise networks from “current and future forms of attack.”

The start-up says its mission is to “use transformational quantum encryption technology to keep safe the data of our governments, enterprises, and citizens.”

QuantumCloud can generate a limitless number of symmetric encryption keys in unlimited group sizes — and as they are created at the moment they are needed, and not before, it becomes incredibly challenging for threat actors to crack them.

Organizations using QuantumCloud download lightweight software to endpoint devices and encryption keys, paired to other devices in the network, are generated. The one-time keys are single-use and are based on a zero-trust model.

“These keys can’t be intercepted, and they can’t be broken,” Williams said.

As computers become more powerful, more resources become available via the cloud, and existing cryptographic systems such as PKI are already susceptible to exploitation, it is only a matter of time before data protection is weakened on a global scale.

To combat this issue, Arqit’s quantum key design is not based on protocols proposed previously, such as PKI or Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). Instead, the executive told us that as earlier protocols have limitations — and potential security problems — the team developed a “novel” protocol as an input for hybrid tech stacks.

This protocol, an integral part of Arqit’s software, creates copies of random numbers in data centers in the network which can be used in key generation.

When organizations consider implementing quantum technologies, you would be forgiven for thinking the leap is too far and existing, potentially legacy systems couldn’t handle the resource demands of quantum and advanced cryptographic software implementations.

However, Arqit’s second technological innovation of note is the software deployed to maintain quantum-secured connections to network endpoints. Taking up less than 200 lines of code, the packages communicate with the network’s data centers to handle key generation without using up vast resources.

“Enterprises don’t need to rip and replace,” Williams commented. “They can simply layer our software on top of their tech stack.”

While Arqit technologies “solve a very big problem that affects nearly every connected device in the world,” the CEO says that the future developments will go even further.

The planned product roadmap includes the team’s expansion, ensuring that Arqit’s software goes further in public verification, and the enhancement of QuantumCloud’s user-friendliness. Furthermore, Arqit intends to boost the speed of implementation and make the encryption software viable for a broader range of customers.

The benefits — and challenges — of quantum computing are on the radar of governments worldwide. For example, on May 4, the White House released an executive order to launch a committee to explore Quantum information science (QIS) and develop a national strategy for QIS use, applications, and risks.

Disclaimer: Arqit is a client of Cybersecurity Ventures and this is sponsored content.

Charlie Osborne is a journalist covering security for ZDNet. Her work also appears on TechRepublic, Cybercrime Magazine, and other media outlets. 

Go here to read all of Charlie’s Cybercrime Magazine articles.

About Arqit

Arqit supplies a unique quantum encryption Platform-as-a-Service which makes the communications links of any networked device secure against current and future forms of attack – even from a quantum computer.

Arqit’s product, QuantumCloud, enables any device to download a lightweight software agent of less than 200 lines of code, which can create encryption keys in partnership with any other device. The keys are computationally secure, one-time use and zero trust.  QuantumCloud can create limitless volumes of keys in limitless group sizes and can regulate the secure entrance and exit of a device in a group.  The addressable market for QuantumCloud is every connected device.