Today Apple is fighting quantum computing attacks

iMessage: Towards End-to-End Cybercrime Prevention for Next-Generation iCloud and other Quantum Computing Systems

Such attacks aren’t yet a broad threat today, but Apple is preparing for a future where bad actors try to unwind current encryption standards and iMessage’s security layers with the help of massively powerful computers. Such scenarios could start playing out by the end of the decade, but experts agree that the tech industry need to start defending against them well in advance.

We rebuilt the iMessage cryptographic protocol from the ground up,” its blog post says, adding that the upgrade will fully replace its existing encryption protocols by the end of this year. Updating your operating system is all you have to do to apply the new protections.

Even though quantum computers aren’t on the market yet, well-resourced attackers have already taken advantage of the steep decrease in data storage costs to prepare for their arrival. The premise is simple: such attackers can collect large amounts of today’s encrypted data and file it all away for future reference. They can retain this data until they acquire a quantum computer that can decrypt it someday, if they want to do an attack scenario called Harvest Now, Decrypt Later.

While practical quantum computing technology may still be years or decades away, security officials, tech companies, and governments are ramping up their efforts to start using a new generation of post-quantum cryptography. These new encryption algorithms will, in short, protect our current systems against any potential quantum computing-based attacks.

Unlike the computers we use today, quantum computers use qubits, which can exist in more than one state. (Current bits are either ones or zeroes). It means that quantum devices can store more information than traditional computers and perform more complex calculations, including potentially cracking encryption.

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