Speaking during a talk at the company’s annually held event, Lund more specifically warned that quantum computing’s threat will lie in its ability to essentially undo the private keys of crypto wallets.
“It’s reverse engineering the private keys which represent the control of your wallet. Your public key is essentially your wallet which holds balances. And I think that’s a real, credible threat. Bitcoin is a public ledger. So you can go out and see which public keys are holding the largest balances and you could go out and target those (the hundred or thousands of bitcoin in there) and say I’m gonna spend effort (computing resource) to reverse engineer the private key from the public key, which is exposed. I think that’s even a near term threat,” Lund elaborated.
Going by Lund’s theory, this could mean almost all forms of public cryptography could be at risk – whether from personal devices to government databases. Lund himself believes that half of all blockchains are vulnerable.
As a result, IBM is of the position that cryptos should begin to “quantum-proof” their systems without any delay.
“Companies need to be aware of quantum and the potential risk that it will bring so they can take actions today so that they are not hackable at some point in the life cycle of their products,” explained IBM data security services CTO Nev Zunic.