When information security encounters a quantum crisis

  On August 27, 2020, the Google quantum research team announced that it had simulated the largest chemical reaction to date on a quantum computer, and became the cover article of “Science” magazine. This is after Google announced the realization of quantum superiority last year. Another major development in China. Google’s quantum processor named Sycamore has attracted the attention of the world as soon as it came out in 2019. It has superb processing power on some specific problems, and the amount of calculation within 200 seconds can match the world’s fastest supercomputer for continuous calculation. Thousands of years. The emergence of this processor is like the Wright brothers invented the airplane-although the Wright brothers only stayed in the air for 12 seconds in their first test flight. It seems to be of no practical use, but it proves the possibility of airplane flight. And heralds the advent of the aviation era. In the same way, we can predict the tremendous impact of quantum computers in many disciplines. Large companies such as Amazon, Google, and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) also want to seize the opportunity when the change comes.
  Quantum technology has changed life
  what it is a quantum computer? Quantum mechanics studies the laws of motion of atoms and elementary particles, such as electrons and photons. Quantum computers realize their operations by controlling the motion of these particles. However, their operation is completely different from ordinary computers. It is not an enhanced version of existing computers, but a A brand new device based on quantum mechanics, just like the light bulb is not an enhanced version of the candle, no matter how much the candle is improved, the light bulb cannot be made. This requires a completely different technology and a deeper scientific understanding.
  Like the social changes brought about by light bulbs, the potential applications of quantum technology can also change our lives. For example, quantum technology will have a huge impact in the fields of information security, biomedical technology, and the Internet of Things. Vikram Sharma, who focuses on innovation in the field of quantum information security technology, leads a world-class security network company. He has warned about the vulnerable characteristics of today’s security data and revealed the risk of data information leakage Will become larger and larger, and emphasize the need for stronger encryption of security data, and quantum encryption technology can alleviate these problems.
  The importance of network information security
  Nowadays, there are tens of billions of networked devices in the world. Network security threats have affected individuals and countries, and there is a growing trend. For example, in the economic field, data breaches by large companies such as JPMorgan Chase and Yahoo have caused hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in losses. Cyber ​​attacks of this scale are very easy to cause great business economic turmoil; in the public domain, since 2012 By 2014, a serious data breach occurred in the US Government Personnel Management Office. Security permits and fingerprint information were stolen by hackers. The incident affected 22 million employees. In the field of national security, certain hackers tried to use the stolen data to influence national elections, such as Incidents such as the theft of large-scale data in the German Bundestag have far-reaching consequences, not to mention cyber attacks on military targets. The risks are immeasurable.
  It seems that the more advanced computer technology is, the weaker the methods we use to protect data? At this time, quantum information, quantum computers, etc. entered the public’s field of vision. The three main directions quantum information quantum count
  calculation, quantum cryptography and quantum transmission. Among them, quantum encryption (or quantum key distribution) uses the principle of quantum unclonability. Quantum mechanics believes that by using this unclonability, a theoretically “absolutely secure” encryption method can be realized. Quantum computers use microscopic particles in the natural world to greatly increase the computing power of computers, and their computing power is powerful enough to crack many of the encryption systems we use today. If the emergence of a quantum computer is a sharp spear that can pierce the existing encryption system, then quantum encryption is an extremely strong shield that can never be “broken” in theory. From the perspective of information security, how do the offenses and defenses of these information fields compete?
  Three elements in the field of information security
  of our students to pass between the small piece of paper, for example, to explain how in the field of information security encryption and decryption is running.
  Suppose you have a small secret note that you want to pass to your friend. To protect the highest secret of both of you, you put the note in a combination box equipped with a special combination lock. Once the combination box is locked, the content of the small note It will be converted into random numbers, and other people can’t understand the garbled codes even if they are violently broken. You give this box to your friend. Before the box is delivered, you tell your friend the password through gestures or whispers. Once he gets the box and enters the password, the file is decrypted and he can see the contents of the small note .
  From this process, you can see the three elements of information encryption: secret key, secret key transfer, and encryption algorithm. The secret key, also known as the encryption key, you can think of it as a password; the process of sending the secret key to a designated place or person safely, and telling him the password through gestures or whispers is called secret key transfer: used for encryption The lock that decrypts the file is called the encryption algorithm. The encryption algorithm converts the contents of the file into random numbers through the secret key, and it is difficult to crack the password without the secret key. Therefore, the importance of the algorithm lies in the fact that even if someone gets the box and opens it, but without the secret key and without knowing the encryption algorithm, he cannot read the contents of the document. What he gets is just some random numbers.
  Nowadays, most security systems rely on secure key transfer methods to deliver the secret key to the right place. However, the rapidly growing computing power has endangered many of the key transfer methods we currently use. For example, RSA is one of the most widely used public key cryptosystems. It was proposed in 1977 by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman. At that time, it took people about trillions of years to crack a 426-bit RSA key, but with the rapid development of computer technology, in 1994, that is, 17 years later, this key was cracked. Forcing people to have to set longer passwords, such as 2048 or 4096-bit passwords to improve their security.
  As we know, the algorithmic competition between encryptors and decryptors has been ongoing, and the emergence of quantum computers will crack complex mathematical algorithms faster, and these algorithms are the basis of the encryption system we use today, so , The quantum computer will turn the security castle we are building into a one-touch house of cards.
  Challenge information in the field of
  information encryption 3 elements, random numbers that form the basis of the secret key. But today, in the face of more advanced algorithms, numbers are no longer truly random. At present, we call the secret key generated by software based on the frequency of random numbers as pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) algorithms. These numbers generated by programs or mathematical methods always have some not so obvious rules. The lower the randomness, the easier it is to predict.
  Therefore, having a true random number generator is important for generating secure passwords. For many years, researchers have been trying to make a real random number generator. Unfortunately, most designs are either not random enough, fast enough, or difficult to reuse. But quantum has brought us dawn. The quantum world is truly random. Devices that can measure quantum effects can generate a continuous stream of random numbers very quickly. Therefore, top universities and companies around the world are focusing on making true random number generators.
  The first quantum random number generator was 2 meters long and 1 meter wide, and then scientists reduced it to the size of a box. Today, it has been miniaturized into a Peripheral Component Interconnect Standard (PCI) card that can be inserted into a standard computer. This is the fastest true random number generator in the world. By measuring quantum effects, it can generate 1 billion random numbers per second. It has been used to improve the security of cloud service providers, banks, and governments.
  However, even with a real random number generator, we still face the second major network security threat: that is the secure transmission of secret keys. The current secret key transmission technology cannot fight against quantum computers. The quantum solution to this problem is called quantum key distribution. It uses a fundamental counter-intuitive property of quantum mechanics. Any measurement of a quantum system will interfere with the system. If a third party tries to eavesdrop on the password, It must be measured in some way, and these measurements will bring about detectable abnormalities.
  Let’s think back to the little paper game. This time, you don’t need to tell your friends the password through gestures or whispering. Instead, you use the quantum effect to carry the password with a laser beam and pass it to your friends through optical fibers. Suppose at this time a bad person wants to obtain or tamper with the password secretly, in the process of trying to intercept the quantum key, he will leave electronic traces so that you and your friends can detect it, so that the intercepted key will be invalid , And the remaining secret key can provide strong protection for the data.
  The Internet of Things heralds the advent of a highly interconnected era. With the development of information infrastructure such as 5G, industrial Internet, satellite Internet, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and blockchain, if the future society can operate normally, the information security system will Therefore, quantum information technology represented by quantum communication and quantum computing has become a hot international strategic technology direction. China is at the forefront of the world in this field. In particular, quantum communication technology has some clear information in the field of information security. Application mode.
  In addition to the field of information security, quantum computers also have extraordinary significance in other fields, such as the field of biomedicine. For current supercomputers, designing and analyzing molecules in the drug development process is still a challenging problem so far, but quantum computers use the same quantum properties as the molecules they are trying to simulate when they are running, so in future drug development In China, large-scale quantum simulation may help treat diseases that affect thousands of people, such as Alzheimer’s. Therefore, we should not only regard quantum mechanics as a tool for making quantum computers, but regard the use of quantum computers as a weapon for exploring the mysteries of nature and revealing the unknown world. It will affect the entire 21st century process, and its influence It will be more profound than the digital revolution that changed the world in the 20th century.

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