M04 Security in the Post-Quantum Era: Threats and Countermeasures
Following Feynman’s idea of computing based on the intricate principles of quantum mechanics the scientific community has embarked on a quest to tap into the unprecedented potential of quantum computing. The concerted effort by industry/academia has produced commercial quantum computers and algorithms that offer speed-up over classical counterparts (at least in principle).
In spite of the promises and potentials, quantum computers are still in nascent stage. On the device front, the qubits are fragile and susceptible to noise and error due to decoherence. New noise tolerant qubits are being studied for this purpose. Another approach is to deploy quantum error correction (QEC) e.g., Shor code, Steane code, Surface code. Variational algorithms and hybrid classical-quantum approaches have shown promise to solve practical problems with NISQ-era quantum computers.
Quantum computers are prophesied to break conventional crypto-systems; most notably by leveraging Shor’s factorization algorithm. However, the practical quantum systems need significant scaling and engineering effort to become a real threat. Envisioning that current public-key cryptosystems will be vulnerable with such advances, a new class of cryptographic algorithms known as Post- Quantum Cryptography is being developed. Quantum systems also bring new security promises in terms of Quantum Key Distribution, quantum-enabled security primitives e.g., TRNG. These primitives are not full-proof either, which faces surge of new attacks.
The first phase of the tutorial will discuss the growth of scalable quantum computers, their challenges and the latest research to solve practical problems using NISQ computers. This will be followed by a glue talk connecting and establishing the realistic threats originating due to a quantum-enabled attacker. The third phase of the tutorial will discuss various post-quantum cryptographic primitives. The concluding talk will present new vulnerabilities in post-quantum cryptography, opening up a new research direction.