The impact of quantum computers in cybersecurity

Estimating the costs of algorithms for attacks and defense applications

Alessandro Luongo

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In in this talk we explore the potential ramifications of quantum computing in the field of cybersecurity We'll delve into two critical aspects: the application of quantum machine learning algorithms for defence and the impact of quantum attacks on cryptography and post-quantum cryptography for offence. We'll present insights on the theoretical advantages of quantum algorithms, improvements in factoring large numbers, and the impacts of post-quantum crypto attacks. While the hype around quantum technologies is growing, the estimates in the resources needed to run a quantum algorithm and the current number of qubits pose caution in the enthusiasm. The limitations in terms of available qubits, error rates, and scalability are critical factors that need to be considered when assessing the real-world applicability of quantum computing.

We will start with a fundamental introduction to quantum computing to ensure that the audience has a solid grasp of this model of computation, but without discussing the technicalities of quantum physics. Taking a "software development" perspective, we introduce the problem of estimating the resources needed to perform a quantum computation. Then, we will shift our focus to the two facets of our investigation: applications for offence and defence.

Quantum machine learning for defence:

We will explore the application of quantum machine learning algorithms in network intrusion detection. Quantum machine learning holds the potential for improving cybersecurity defences by leveraging quantum algorithms - exponentially faster than classical algorithm on their asymptotic complexity. We will introduce a framework for estimating the advantages of quantum algorithms in terms of query complexity, and report the findings of our experiments. Our findings will be based on practical experiments using benchmark datasets in cybersecurity, offering insights into the potential effectiveness of quantum approaches in this domain.

Quantum attacks on cryptography for offence:

Shifting our attention to the offensive side, we will investigate the potential impact of quantum attacks on cryptography. We will report some advancements in the number of qubits required to break RSA2048 cryptography and attacks on ECC256. Furthermore, we will delve into the complexities of post-quantum cryptography attacks. Our ongoing research at CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies of Singapore) involves measuring the depth and size of quantum circuits, including the number of Toffoli gates and Toffoli-depth. We will also account for the qubit number and size of the QRAM query (quantum random access memory), providing a comprehensive assessment of the quantum attack landscape.

Ultimately, we will draw conclusions based on our research and analysis. While there is limited evidence suggesting that quantum computing will have a drastic impact on cybersecurity through machine learning or attacks on post-quantum cryptography, there are substantial reasons to believe that quantum computers, once they reach sufficient scale and capacity, will pose a significant threat to RSA2048 and ECC256. Join us for an insightful exploration of the evolving intersection of quantum computing and cybersecurity.


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