The services are based on quantum-safe algorithms that use open standards and open source technology to bolster its transport layer security (TSL) and secure socket layer (SSL) security connections in IBM Cloud services. This will help protect data while it’s in transit within the IBM Cloud.
“As quantum systems become more powerful they will also impact information security and will create new opportunities for improving security for data both on-premises and in the cloud,” the company noted in a statement.
IBM predicts that due to the rate of progress in quantum computing, data protected by current asymmetric encryption methods could become insecure within the next 10 to 30 years.
“While years away, data can be harvested today, stored and decrypted in the future with a powerful enough quantum computer,” it noted. “While the industry is still finalizing post-quantum cryptography standards, businesses and other organizations can start preparing today.”
IBM’s Security division is also offering a Quantum Risk Assessment to help customers view their security risk if using quantum computing.
The cryptographic algorithms are part of the Cryptographic Suite for Algebraic Lattices (CRYSTALS). That’s a lattice cryptography platform based on the “hardness of mathematical problems that have been studied since the 1980’s and have not succumbed to any algorithmic attacks, either classical or quantum,” explained Vadim Lyubashevsky, a cryptographer at IBM Research, in a statement. “This is why we have made our algorithms open source and have submitted them to (the National Institute for Standards and Technology) for standardization.”
CRYSTALS is based on two quantum resistant cryptographic primitives: Kyber, which is a secure key encapsulation mechanism; and Dilithium, which is a secure digital signature algorithm. IBM has tested the platform on a prototype tape drive with symmetric AES-256 encryption to enable a quantum computing safe tape drive. CRYSTALS has also been donated to OpenQuantumSafe.org for further development of open standards.
“As an industry, we can only become secure if new quantum-safe algorithms are tested, interoperable, and easily consumable in common security standards,” the company explained.
IBM’s Quantum Computing Efforts
IBM initiated use of quantum computers in its public cloud service in 2016. That service, dubbed IBM’s Quantum Experience – and since shortened to just the Q Experience – tapped into the new technology to drive down the heat generated by traditional computing hardware. This is typically done by using superconducting materials to support operational temperatures near absolute zero.
By reducing the heat generated by the quantum computing chips they can support quibits, which are a two-dimensional version of traditional computing bits that can simultaneously represent “0” and “1” in a computing model. That low resistance also slashes power consumption and increases server performance that is currently being impacted by a slowing down of Moore’s Law. That observation states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.
Customers can access IBM’s Q Experience using a software stack. The company said users have executed more than 28 million experiments and simulations on that cloud platform and published more than 180 third-party research papers.
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