Quantum computing represents such a leap forward because it frees machines from their binary coding. While computer bits can only operate as â0â or â1â, quantum bits (qubits) can exist in multiple states – a phenomenon known as superposition, which ramps up computing power exponentially.Â Â
Qubits are made from tiny particles, such as the electrons of phosphorus atoms, which have âspinâ and point magnetic north or south (the equivalent of 0 and 1), but also multiple directions in between, like a compass needle.
While pointless for tasks such as running word processors or web streaming, their exponential powerÂ would render today’s encryption software obsolete.
Although true quantum computers are still a long way off, earlier this year, Google claimed it had achieved âquantum supremacy’ after solvingÂ a problem that would take a classical computer far too long to complete.Â
Security experts were concerned that cyber-terrorists were already storing up information ready to break once quantum computing is a reality. But the new breakthrough would stop hackers in their tracks.Â
Leader of the study, Dr Andrea Fratalocchi, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, in Saudi Arabia, said: âWith the advent of more powerful and quantum computers, all current encryptions will be broken in a very short time, exposing the privacy of our present and, more importantly, past communications.
âFor instance, an attacker can store an encrypted message that is sent today and wait for the right technology to become available to decipher the communication.
âImplementing massive and affordable resources of global security is a worldwide problem that this research has the potential to solve for everyone, and everywhere. If this scheme could be implemented globally, crypto-hackers will have to look for another job.â
The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
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