Unraveling the Secrets of Quantum Cryptography: What Is It and How to Prepare?

7 June 2023
9 min read
Hrant Gharibyan
Co-founder & CEO
Quantum cryptography complete guide with examples

In an era where data breaches are rampant, have you ever wondered if the encryption methods safeguarding your sensitive data are foolproof? The reality is, in the face of the advancing quantum computing era, traditional cryptographic systems are beginning to show cracks. Quantum cryptography, a product of the fascinating intersection of quantum physics and cryptographic science, promises to redefine the landscape of data security. 

This article seeks to unravel the intricacies of quantum cryptography, explaining its key concepts, potential applications, and how it differs from the cryptography we're familiar with. 

Join us on this journey of discovery at BlueQubit as we delve into the future of secured communication.

What Is Quantum Cryptography?

So, you might be wondering, "How does quantum cryptography work?" In essence, it's a sophisticated method of encryption that harnesses the inherent properties of quantum mechanics to secure and transmit data in a way that is virtually invulnerable to hacking attempts.

While conventional cryptography relies on mathematical complexities for data protection, quantum cryptography introduces a new echelon of safeguarding data, relying on properties of quantum physics. This method ensures that any unauthorized access or interference would immediately alert the sender and receiver, making the system uniquely secure against potential threats, including those from quantum computing.

This process hinges on using light particles, or photons, to transfer data through fiber optic cables, representing binary bits. These photons form the bedrock of quantum cryptography's impenetrability. This is due to three distinct quantum properties:

  1. Particles' ability to exist simultaneously in multiple places or states.
  2. The disturbance and alteration of a quantum property when observed.
  3. The impossibility of duplicating quantum particles.

These traits make it impossible to measure or interact with the system's quantum state without causing a detectable disturbance. Photons, given their well-understood behavior and their critical role as information carriers in optical fiber cables, are the perfect candidates for this task. One prominent application of quantum cryptography is quantum key distribution (QKD), offering a highly secure method for key exchange. 

Cryptographic Applications to Watch For

As we progress deeper into the quantum era, there are several fascinating applications of quantum cryptography that are emerging. These innovations stand at the forefront of cryptographic research, offering unprecedented levels of security. From quantum-safe cryptography, providing resilience against quantum attacks, to quantum key distribution, offering a secure method for key exchange - the scope is wide and intriguing. 

Let's explore these applications and comprehend how they contribute to the ever-evolving landscape of quantum computing and cryptography. Prepare to delve into the intriguing universe of quantum-resistant cryptography and what lies beyond!

cryptographic quantum computer hardware

Quantum-Safe Cryptography

At the vanguard of quantum computing cryptography is the concept of quantum-safe cryptography, a set of cryptographic solutions designed to be resilient against the immense processing power of quantum computers. Unlike traditional cryptographic methods that rely on the difficulty of factoring large numbers or solving discrete logarithm problems, quantum-safe cryptography hinges on different mathematical problems.

For instance, Lattice-Based Cryptography is built on complex geometric problems, an area where quantum computers lack the upper hand. In this domain, the sheer complexity of the problem makes it tough for both classical and quantum computers to crack, making lattice-based cryptography a potential solution for a post-quantum world.

Similarly, Code-Based Cryptography, Multivariate Cryptography, and Hash-Based Cryptography are other cryptographic techniques under scrutiny for their quantum resistance. Each tackles encryption from unique angles, creating a diversified field of potential quantum-resistant cryptographic solutions.

These quantum-safe algorithms are currently under rigorous examination, with organizations like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) leading the charge to establish robust standards for quantum-resistant cryptography. With these endeavors, the cryptographic community strives to create systems impervious to the threats posed by quantum computing.

Quantum Key Distribution

One of the most compelling applications of quantum cryptography explained is quantum key distribution (QKD). Understanding this revolutionary method, or having quantum key distribution explained, reveals that it leverages the principles of quantum mechanics to share encryption keys securely

One might ask, how will quantum computing impact the effectiveness of cryptography? Well, it allows for maintaining the utmost secrecy even in a world dominated by quantum computing.

QKD uses photons, particles of light, to transmit data over fiber optic wire, with the individual photons representing binary bits. The inherent properties of these quantum particles prevent any covert interception of the keys. Attempting to observe or copy these particles invariably disturbs their quantum state, effectively alerting the legitimate parties to any potential eavesdropping.

Such an inherently secure method for key exchange sets QKD apart, bolstering its potential in building quantum security systems that can withstand the threats of the quantum computing age.

Lock with quantum computing calculations

IoT Security

The Internet of Things (IoT), with its interconnected web of devices, has revolutionized our daily lives, but it also poses significant security challenges. As quantum computing continues to evolve, traditional cryptographic measures may fall short of ensuring IoT security.

However, the promising realm of quantum cryptography brings new hopes. In this context, quantum key distribution can play a crucial role in securing IoT infrastructure. Given its inherent ability to detect eavesdropping, QKD can significantly enhance the integrity and confidentiality of data across IoT networks.

Furthermore, quantum-resistant cryptography, such as lattice-based or hash-based cryptography, could provide an additional layer of protection, rendering our IoT devices impervious to the threats posed by quantum computing. Thus, the application of quantum cryptography in IoT security holds immense potential, serving as a cornerstone in fortifying our interconnected world.

Quantum Cryptography vs Traditional Cryptography: What’s the Buzz?

Quantum computing vs classical computing

The concept of encryption is not new, but the ways we achieve it are continually evolving. While traditional cryptography has served as the bedrock of secure communication for decades, the advent of quantum computing and cryptography has brought a seismic shift in how we think about data security.

Traditional cryptography, including RSA and ECC algorithms, hinges on mathematical computations that make it computationally challenging for unauthorized entities to derive private keys from public ones. However, as quantum computing's prowess grows, these traditional cryptographic techniques may no longer provide sufficient protection, as the computational assumptions underpinning their security are violated.

In contrast, quantum cryptography leverages the principles of quantum mechanics for encryption. It's less about computations and more about the intrinsic properties of quantum states. Its primary component, quantum key distribution (QKD), ensures secure communication by making any attempt at eavesdropping detectable.

Although the concepts underpinning quantum cryptography offer robust security, it comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, it's currently expensive and more challenging to implement than traditional methods. Also, the range of quantum communication is limited, making it less suitable for long-distance communication.

Still, the potential of quantum cryptography is undeniable. Despite being in its nascent stages, it's already opening up new dimensions of data security that promise to outshine traditional cryptographic methods.

What Is the Purpose of “Post-quantum” Cryptography?

The development of quantum computing has been a double-edged sword. While it offers the promise of faster processing and breakthroughs in various fields, it simultaneously threatens to undermine the security foundations upon which the digital world is built. The fact that quantum computers could potentially crack traditional cryptographic systems has led to the emergence of a new field known as "post-quantum" cryptography.

Post-quantum cryptography refers to cryptographic algorithms that are believed to be secure against an attack by a quantum computer. This is distinct from quantum cryptography, which uses quantum phenomena for cryptography. Instead, post-quantum cryptography involves implementing traditional cryptographic concepts in a manner resistant to quantum computing, preserving security even with the advent of powerful quantum machines.

The primary purpose of post-quantum cryptography is to prepare for a "post-quantum" era where quantum computers are common. It aims to design and implement cryptographic systems that remain secure even when adversaries have access to quantum computation. This is especially critical for data protection, as most of our sensitive data today is encrypted with systems that could be broken by quantum computers.

Delving into this complex terrain, we understand that several strategies are currently being studied, tested, and improved. While they each have their unique strengths and challenges, all are designed to withstand quantum attacks. They are far from being mere academic ideas; they are tangible solutions addressing the imminent quantum threat.

As we venture into this new realm, it's crucial to understand that transitioning to post-quantum cryptography will be a considerable task. This is not just a software upgrade but a complete overhaul of cryptographic infrastructure worldwide. We must carefully plan and execute this transition to ensure the continuity of our digital security.

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Harvest Now, Decrypt Later

The threat landscape in the digital age is constantly evolving. A particularly concerning strategy in the era of quantum computing is the one termed "harvest now, decrypt later". In this tactic, adversaries seize and store encrypted data today, banking on the progress of technology. They anticipate that, in the future, advancements such as quantum computing will empower them to break the encryption that presently seems impenetrable. This situation underlines the pressing need for quantum-resistant cryptography and the protection it offers against such potentially devastating attacks. Future-proofing our digital assets has become a necessity rather than a choice in the rapidly advancing field of technology.

Opt for Advanced Solutions!

In today's complex digital landscape, it is paramount to adopt advanced solutions. One such innovation is BlueQubit, a leading player in quantum computing and cryptography, which is relentlessly working towards providing stronger security measures to guard your most sensitive data.

When contemplating a scenario where you are in the process of creating a new cryptographic protocol, the design process is just one part of the equation. A significant component is the ability to test the protocol against potential quantum threats thoroughly. This is where BlueQubit’s state-of-the-art quantum infrastructure comes into play. It enables you to simulate real-world quantum attacks, thereby ensuring your protocol is capable of standing strong against even the most sophisticated attacks.

By using BlueQubit, you're not just safeguarding your data but also future-proofing your operations against emerging quantum threats. Embrace quantum-resistant cryptography with BlueQubit and secure your digital assets today for a safer tomorrow.

Pros and Cons of Quantum Cryptography

Quantum cryptography has emerged as a promising response to the growing threats posed by quantum computing to traditional cryptographic systems. It represents a breakthrough, leveraging quantum physics to provide unprecedented levels of security. However, like any technology, quantum cryptography also comes with its set of challenges. Understanding the pros and cons of this revolutionary technology can help decision-makers plan a more secure, quantum-safe future. In this section, we will explore the key advantages and potential drawbacks of quantum cryptography.


Quantum cryptography holds a variety of significant benefits:

  1. Secure Communication: Unlike traditional cryptography, quantum cryptography anchors its foundation on physical laws rather than complicated numerical algorithms, making it an advanced and robust encryption process that poses a challenge for potential hackers.
  2. Eavesdropping Detection: One of the unique facets of quantum cryptography is its ability to flag any external intrusion. If a third-party attempts to intercept the encoded data, the quantum state undergoes an alteration, triggering an alert and transforming the outcome initially anticipated by the users.
  3. Multiple Security Methods: Quantum cryptography does not follow a one-size-fits-all approach. It incorporates an array of cryptographic protocols. An example is quantum key distribution (QKD) which, when synergized with conventional encryption methodologies, amplifies the overall security mechanism. This diversified approach to safety measures provides users with additional layers of security.


While quantum cryptography offers numerous advantages, it also comes with its own set of challenges:

  1. Polarization and Error Rates: Quantum cryptography uses photons for data transmission, which can potentially change their polarization during transit. This fluctuation can inadvertently increase the error rates in the transmitted data, affecting the reliability of the communication.
  2. Limited Range: Quantum cryptography systems traditionally have a range of about 400 to 500 km. This limitation means it is not always suitable for long-distance communications without additional equipment or infrastructure.
  3. Infrastructure Expenses: Implementing quantum cryptography often involves significant costs. It typically requires dedicated infrastructure, including fiber-optic lines and quantum repeaters, leading to high setup and maintenance costs.

Summary: The Future Prospects

Quantum cryptography holds immense potential for securing our digital future, despite its limitations. As quantum computing evolves, so too does the need for advanced cryptographic solutions. With quantum-safe cryptography, quantum key distribution, and the ability to secure IoT networks, quantum cryptography is advancing at a fast pace. 

With BlueQubit's innovative tools and technologies, we are at the forefront of this revolutionary change. Embrace the quantum revolution with BlueQubit and step into a more secure future.

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