The Impact of Quantum Computing on Cybersecurity | 404 | Ep. 2

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Episode Summary

Introduction to Quantum Computing:

  • Quantum computing represents a significant leap from classical computing, using qubits instead of bits. Unlike classical bits, which are binary (0 or 1), qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously due to a property called superposition.
  • This allows quantum computers to perform complex calculations at unprecedented speeds, potentially rendering current encryption methods obsolete.

Current State and Challenges:

  • Quantum computing technology is still in its infancy, facing challenges like maintaining qubit stability and requiring extremely low temperatures close to absolute zero.
  • Despite its theoretical potential, practical, stable, and error-corrected quantum computers are not yet a reality.

Superposition and Entanglement:

  • Superposition: Qubits can represent multiple states at once, exponentially increasing computing power as more qubits are added.
  • Entanglement: When particles become entangled, the state of one immediately influences the state of another, regardless of distance. This property can potentially revolutionise data transmission speeds and cryptographic security.

Impact on Cryptography:

  • The immense power of quantum computing could break current cryptographic algorithms, making traditional encryption methods ineffective.
  • Quantum key distribution, leveraging entanglement, could offer a new level of security by ensuring any attempt to intercept communication would alter the data, rendering it useless.

Quantum Supremacy:

  • Quantum supremacy refers to the point where a quantum computer can solve problems that classical computers cannot. This milestone has not been achieved yet but is the ultimate goal in the development of quantum technology.
  • The race to achieve quantum supremacy is intense, with major tech companies and nation-states vying for the lead due to the enormous strategic and economic advantages it would confer.

Potential Risks and Ethical Considerations:

  • The immense computational power of quantum computers could disrupt the global balance of power if one nation or organisation achieves supremacy first and uses it for military or economic dominance.
  • There is a concern that advancements in quantum computing, particularly when combined with AI, could lead to unprecedented challenges, including the creation of highly autonomous and potentially uncontrollable systems.

Future Directions and Speculations:

  • The conversation touches on the theoretical and practical aspects of how quantum computing might evolve and integrate with AI, potentially leading to self-aware systems reminiscent of science fiction scenarios like Skynet from the Terminator series.
  • The necessity of developing quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms to safeguard data in the quantum era is highlighted.


The episode provides an in-depth exploration of the current state, challenges, and future potential of quantum computing in cybersecurity. It underscores the importance of understanding and preparing for the revolutionary changes that quantum technology could bring, both in terms of opportunities and risks. The hosts emphasise the critical need for ongoing research and collaboration to harness these advancements for the benefit of society while mitigating potential dangers.