European Cyber Security Perspectives 2019

The sixth edition of KPN’s European Cyber Security Perspectives report has been released and features the latest news and developments in Infosec, including an article from IDQ’s Kelly Richdale and Bruno Huttner.

European Cyber Security Perspectives 2019 brings together the thoughts and opinions of both nationally and internationally renowned organisations ranging from government, universities and private companies. Topics span across the information security landscape, from coordinated vulnerability disclosure and cyber warfare to cyber crises management and security awareness.

A tough 2018 for Infosec

The report is set against the backdrop of a difficult 2018 for Infosec, something the 2019 report looks to alleviate:

“After the initial flurry of activity around Spectre and Meltdown in the beginning of January, we ended the year with global supply chain concerns brought about by the Super Micro story. Throughout the year we saw the geopolitical dilemmas of 2018 manifest in cyber security issues. Technology giants like Facebook and Google had a security reckoning. However in pure scariness the medical data breaches of MyHeritage (DNA) and MyFitnessPal (health) rank higher. The Starwood Marriott Hotel breach made every travelling executive nervous for the rest of the year, but probably not as nervous as the incident of CEO Fraud at Pathé.”

Quantum computing features once again

As with 2018, quantum computing features prominently in the 2019 report with three articles dedicated to the subject. The first, written by Daniel J. Bernstein of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Tanja Lange of Eindhoven University of Technology, reviews the state of the 82 standards for post-quantum cryptography one year after they were submitted to NIST.

The second, authored by CWI Amsterdam’s Florian Speelman and the University of Amsterdam’s Christian Schaffner, poses the question of how we can safely compute sensitive data on a quantum computer, especially when it is likely to be located elsewhere and accessed via the ‘quantum cloud’.

IDQ features with article on blockchain in a post quantum world

The third piece discussing the quantum age – ‘Blockchain in a Post Quantum World’ – was authored by ID Quantique’s Kelly Richdale and Bruno Huttner. The article looks at how blockchains are formed using both cryptographic hashes and public-private keys and establishes the practical impact quantum computers will have on blockchain digital trust.

The article then goes on to recommend where quantum physics and new mathematical algorithms can quantum-proof blockchains: Firstly, the authors recommend blockchain keys are upgraded to quantum resistant algorithms (QRAs) when they become available. Secondly, blockchain users should implement Quantum Random Number Generation (QRNG) in order to create true randomness. Thirdly, blockchains should enable quantum-secured back-up of private keys using a combination of Shamir’s Secret Sharing Protocol (SSSP) and Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).

“Blockchain is becoming a pervasive technology which has the ability to revolutionise our transactions and trust relationships in the digital world. However, it is critical that it is built on a secure foundation which will withstand future cyber-attack vectors. Notably, today’s popular implementations of blockchain – such as bitcoin and other digital currencies – need to be upgraded to be quantum safe against future attacks by a quantum computer. The architecture, upgrade path and protection mechanisms for this should already be planned now.” Kelly Richdale, Executive Vice President, Quantum-Safe Security – ID Quantique

The article concludes by looking at the implications of combining quantum computing and blockchain into the wider technological landscape, where they will sit alongside enhancements including borderless networking and IoT, connected vehicles and artificial intelligence.

Because blockchain establishes trust not just between persons, but between machines themselves, it’s possible to foresee the technology being combined with AI (such as self-learning algorithms) and quantum computing to allow machines to transact with each other directly, at great speed, without human input or control. Doing so will achieve a level of autonomy that has never been seen before.

While this level of integration will bring profound changes, there is also a question of morality that must be posed: If robots are communicating without interference, making financial decisions on our behalf and learning as they go, at what point does this actionable autonomy translate into political will and human rights?

You can download your free copy of European Cyber Security Perspectives 2019 here.

Download ID Quantique’s paper: ‘Blockchain in a Post Quantum World’ here.

Recommended reading: The crucial role of quantum random number generation in securing blockchains

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