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Encryption is one of the most important methods for providing data security. Encryption is widely used on the internet to protect user information being sent between a browser and a server, including passwords, payment information and other personal information that should be considered private. However, with recent developments in quantum computers, more powerful and capable than “traditional computers”, the “traditional” data security comes to a threat. Are we prepared for post-quantum era cyber security? IDM service provides today a complete post-quantum protection for tomorrow. With new SIZE algorithm IDM team has developed a security solution to tackle the quantum computer supremacy.
Quantum computer development
Quantum computing takes advantage of a strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time. In common digital computing, a bit is a single piece of information that can exist in two states – 1 or 0. Quantum computing uses quantum bits, or ‘qubits’ instead. These are quantum systems with two states. This difference allows a future quantum computer to solve some difficult mathematical problems easier, faster and with less energy.
Quantum computers operating on completely different principles to classic computers can solve particular mathematical problems, like finding very large prime numbers. This problem is classically very difficult to solve. In fact, it is so difficult that it forms the basis of RSA encryption, probably the most popular method of encryption used today. Since prime numbers are so important in cryptography, it is likely that quantum computers would be able to crack practically any of the existing data security systems.
To estimate the scope of a potential security problem we have to answer few questions: What kind of attacks can quantum computer perform? What are the most vulnerable scenarios? How far away is the quantum computing? How can we prepare for the future?
Today Google, IBM, Honeywell, Microsoft, Rigetti and some other companies and laboratories are developing a quantum computer. Currently, with the number of qubits less than 100, a quantum computer is far from being practically viable. However, continuous research and development are bringing fast the day when a quantum computer could surpass the abilities of conventional computers. In anticipation to this day IDM has developed a solution for protection of data security from quantum supremacy. This solution is very different from commonly employed encryption methods.
Quantum threat to encryption
Quantum computer is a threat to data security. There are some particular scenarios, use cases, algorithms necessary to consider when referring to the quantum supremacy.
Cryptographic hash algorithms are the basis of blockchain technology. It is the hash function that protects any blockchain record from being modified. In addition, the proof-of-work system uses a hash to control the difficulty level of mining process. There are many other use cases of these algorithms, which are very popular in any industry: it is a part of the digital signatures and helps to store password securely.
A hash function maps input data of arbitrary size to a fix size (a hash) and is designed to be a one-way, that is, a function which infeasible to invert. Any change in input data leads to a different hash. The hash function is irreversible: it is impossible to retrieve input data from output hash string.
Is it possible to mine all Bitcoins at once with quantum computer?
Alex Beath, a Toronto-based physicist, formulated a popular idea: the first quantum computer will mine all of the remaining Bitcoins instantly. There are different opinions in the scientific and crypto community, which are based on theoretical research and practice. Briefly, to make quantum computer be practically useful for Bitcoin mining, we need thousands of qubits. It will eventually happen in 10-20 years from now when 99% or more bitcoins will be in circulation.
Are my passwords safe?
When we read news about brute force attack on passwords, such as attack on WordPress in 2017, we worry about our password strength. How is it being done? It is not possible simply to continue retyping passwords directly into a user interface of a site or service: the protection such as captcha prevents such attack. Most modern services store passwords as hashes. Attackers somehow obtain user database with these password hashes and match these hashes with dictionaries of common password hashes. The brute-force searching with a quantum computer will probably be much faster. IDM allows to store complicated, very long passwords and all your sensitive data in a quantum resistant manner.
Symmetric algorithms apply the same key for encryption and decryption. We use such algorithms as AES for storage and transition of sensitive data, including access to banking accounts. Probably, a quantum computer will be able to break easily the popular 128-bit AES algorithm by the Grover algorithm in several years. To prevent losses, information security community already discusses AES-256 as a medium-term protection against the quantum attack.
Increasing the algorithm complexity with a key length is just a temporary measure. The ultimate solution offered by IDM allows to protect data completely and on a permanent basis.
Public or asymmetric encryption, including RSA and elliptic curve techniques, is very popular on the Internet and in cryptocurrency word. Cryptocurrency transaction uses a signature and a public key to verify that it was the owner of the private key that signed it. It is an example of public algorithm usage. Other examples include access to websites, messaging, sending e-mails.
Because asymmetric encryption uses two connected keys – private and public – it is more vulnerable than symmetric. Dr. Michele Mosca, deputy director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, estimates the chance that some fundamental public key crypto will be broken by quantum computing by the year 2026 as one in seven, and a one-in-two chance of the same by 2031.
MIT is constantly exploring this too. In 1994, Peter Shor, a math professor at MIT, invented an algorithm able to crack asymmetric encryption by the quantum computer. In 2015, MIT demonstrated practical ability to break RSA by the quantum computer.
The threat to public encryption is tangible and cannot be eliminated by a simple key length extension. Information security specialists are discussing different types of algorithms, such as lattice-based cryptography and error-correcting codes.
IDM is based on the SIZE technology utilizing new type of error-correction codes.
The out of the box solution
The purpose of the data encryption is to transform information in order to prevent unauthorized access to it. IDM guarantees a prevention from unauthorized access by applying the SIZE algorithm. The SIZE algorithm relates to a class of correction codes that correct errors, producing multi-level file transformation, same way as encryption algorithms do. And just like encryption algorithms, our code makes unauthorized access to the data impossible.
For data protection, the SIZE algorithm applies well-known digital electronics operations. However, these operations have never been applied to special algorithms with a special sequence of mathematical operations and have never been used to protect information. The algorithm is used to transform any digital content into a new form — a set of digital packages. Each of these individual packages has no functional value and may not contain a single bit of the original information. To restore the original information, it is necessary to reassemble the original file from a set of packages in a specific way, performing a series of mathematical operations.
There is an infinite number of ways to transform data, the algorithm specifies only the general direction of the process. The data transformation is user specific, so no-one else can access this data, except for the user.
To summarize, the SIZE technology guarantees privacy and security for a data storage and transmission. The algorithm characteristics fully meet requirements for the post-quantum protection system.
In addition to ultimate protection, IDM’s technology provides the highest level of data recovery and has minimum requirements for computing resources. We provide an excellent opportunity for everyone to share the success of the company. On May 28th we start a crowdfunding campaign on our site. Join us to be a part of the secure future!
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