In the third episode of our five-part Quantum Computing/Quantum Apocalypse series, Alan Grau, VP of IoT and Embedded Solutions with Sectigo, discusses why industrial OEMs need to act now to protect against the quantum apocalypse.
Most industrial equipment built today will be in the field for many years; some expected to have more than 20 years in service. So when you consider that quantum computing will be operational as early as 2026, the encryption algorithms securing the devices will soon be vulnerable.
It is debatable when quantum computing will be capable of breaking current encryption, but even if it isn't until 2030, many industrial devices designed today will still be in the field. Some industrial data is less of a concern because it is produced and consumed in real-time. However, some of this equipment will contain government secrets or run medical devices and the electrical grid.
New quantum-safe crypto algorithms are available and have been tested but haven't been standardized. However, according to Grau, standardized algorithms could be available within the next 12 to 18 months. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hopes to have the first set of standardized algorithms by 2022.
Candidate algorithms are available today, and industrial OEMs can incorporate them to make devices less susceptible to quantum attacks.
The new threat is real. While some believe that the technology used for attacks will always outpace the protections, Grau notes that encryption technologies have stood the test of time. Some have been compromised, but others have been upgraded to keep up.