Starting next year, IBM intends to begin offering quantum-safe cryptography on its public cloud architecture. The service is designed to anticipate the production of quantum computers and a potential attack from one of these machines. Quantum-safe cryptography uses an algorithm that is resistant to attacks from both quantum computers as well as regular computers. IBM’s services utilize open-source technology and open standards to increase its Transport Layer Security (TLS) and secure socket layer (SSL) connections for data residing in and being transferred across the cloud.
IBM notes that quantum computers are still a way off, but in the case of evergreen data, the possibility exists for it to be saved and then decrypted once quantum computers enter regular usage. Based on their current estimates, IBM suggests that data with its current level of encryption and safety will probably remain safe for anywhere between ten to thirty years. By introducing this cryptographic algorithm now, they ensure that the data on the cloud remains safe well into the future.
CRYSTALS Are IBM’s Solution
The algorithms that IBM intends to use come from a platform called the Cryptographic Suite for Algebraic Lattices (CRYSTALS). The CRYSTALS platform utilizes mathematical problems that have been in circulation since the 1980s but are so hard that they haven’t been defeated by traditional technology, nor algebraic attacks using a quantum processor. The intention is to utilize these cryptography algorithms as a security standard moving forward.
IBM has also been delving into producing quantum computers. The first commercial usage of quantum computing happened in 2016 when IBM incorporated their quantum computers into their cloud network. The existence of these machines came about because of materials technology, allowing IBM to cool their processors to an operating temperature close to absolute zero (−459.67° F). Quantum computers don’t use traditional bitwise technology but instead use “states” of matter called a qubit which could hold the value of either 1 or 0, or both simultaneously, depending on the quantum state.