The world of cybersecurity already feels like something out of a futuristic sci-fi dystopia and it’s only going to get more high-tech from here. According to a recent WIRED article, quantum computing company D-Wave just announced the first cybersecurity customer for their new quantum computer. This partnership could have broad implications for the future of the security industry if successful. Security vendors and companies hope quantum computers can help them solve problems like how to analyze hundreds of thousands of security events per day, how to map networks to better identify vulnerabilities, and how to classify malware to identify risks and priorities. Quantum computing is still a very young industry, but in some of D-Wave initial tests their new machine’s performance was incredibly promising.
Quantum computing works by using quantum-mechanical properties to create a unit called a qubit that can store a bit of information as a “0” or a “1” simultaneously. Normal computers can store a bit as either a 1 or a 0, but quantum computers can store both at the same time. This makes them (in theory) exponentially faster at performing calculations.
Of course, there’s always a risk of these technologies falling into the wrong hands. Our CTO Corey Nachreiner predicted that hackers would adopt machine learning techniques in 2017 to create even more deadly forms of malware. What could they do with a quantum computer running those data sets? We can’t say for sure, but we do know that bad guys are always looking for new ways to breach network defenses.