Science 4 min read

Are Cryptocurrencies at Risk of Quantum Hacking?

Quantum hacking will soon be a reality, and we all need to be ready for it. Will cryptocurrency be able to survive this new level of cybersecurity? | Image by Dmitriy Rybin | Shutterstock

Quantum hacking will soon be a reality, and we all need to be ready for it. Will cryptocurrency be able to survive this new level of cybersecurity? | Image by Dmitriy Rybin | Shutterstock

Expert cryptographers are mulling over the potential threats of quantum hacking on cryptocurrencies and cryptography. Now, they are working on counter-measures before it’s too late.

For the last number of years, physicists, computer engineers, and researchers working at leading tech companies and startups have been actively pursuing the development of quantum computing.

Among other things, quantum technology promises to solve complex calculation problems facing current computer systems and to take the digital revolution into a whole new dimension.

All things considered, however, with the long-awaited and fascinating perspectives of this technology, the construction of quantum machines can bring challenges never before faced in the ongoing war on cybercrime.

As it’s mostly about money, quantum computers in the wrong hands will put cryptocurrency systems in jeopardy.

Read More: Beyond Binary: Scientist Demonstrate Ternary Quantum State

The Future of Quantum Hacking

The quantum computer is a technological gem coveted by everyone, including states driven by geopolitical reasons, and professional cyber-spies who serve dark causes.

If the technology delivers on its promises and gets democratized, you bet even small-time hackers and fraudsters will be among the first to own a computer powered by a quantum processor.

If it takes a hacker a long time to crack a code using a classic computer, they could find new methods of brute forcing their entry through a quantum DDoS attack.

There are different encryption protocols, built on the same cryptographic principles, that are used to secure online communications, payment systems, financial transactions, virtual currencies, and pretty much every bit of data exchanged on the web.

However, the frequency and rising scale of cybercrimes have already shown the critical vulnerability of current encryption systems.

We also know that people with shadowy skills and bad intentions are most likely to be the early-adopters of technology.

Read more: Quantum Security: Quantum Key Distribution is the end of Malware

The quantum computer would be the ultimate decoding weapon available to any cyber criminal by offering them the key to the online cave of encrypted treasures.

It isn’t that long before quantum computers become a commercial reality, and we better be prepared.

Countdown to Quantum Computers Began, now What Cryptocash?

Remember the Y2K, or the Year 2000 problem?

Computing systems back then survived the Millennium bug, hyped as an apocalyptic event, and only took some minor blows.

Now you should get prepared for Y2Q, or “years to quantum” countdown.

Experts can’t agree on a hard deadline for Y2Q (late 2020s to early 2030s), but the threatening shadow of quantum computing is looming large on the horizon.

The stakes are huge for internet users, online businesses, and national security systems alike.

As far as online security is concerned, cryptocurrencies, regarding their anticipated ubiquity, will likely be a prime target for hackers toting quantum nets.

Your average distribution keys don’t stand a chance against a brutal quantum DDoS attack.

Researchers are hard at work looking for ways to make the cryptocurrency sphere safe without violating any of its fundamental properties, like anonymity and decentralization.

The latest International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, FC 2018, provided an occasion for cryptographers to discuss the potential threats of quantum computing on cryptocurrencies and cryptography systems as a whole.

One of the solutions presented at the FC 2018 conference is the so-called “Anonymous Post-Quantum Cryptocash” (APQC).

To update cryptocurrency systems and ensure their integrity, researchers propose the APQC system, which is “a linkable ring signature (LRS) based on ideal lattices” cryptography” instead of current vulnerable signature algorithms.

As with most data security, it’s likely that countermeasures against quantum hacking will come as a reaction to these attacks. However, future data security systems will need a solid foundation that has to be laid sooner rather than later.

Do you think quantum hacking will become a real threat in the future?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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    Anthony Gary June 11 at 9:46 pm GMT

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