Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Data Protection

Quantum Decryption Brought Closer by Topological Qubits

Quantinuum claims the most powerful quantum computer currently available –through cloud-based access from Quantinuum, and available through Azure Quantum in June 2023.

Quantinuum has demonstrated the controlled creation and manipulation of non-Abelian anyons – or, put more simply, brought the arrival of large-scale, error resistant quantum computers much closer.


The processing power of quantum computers is derived from the ability of qubits (quantum bits) to offer multiple states, rather than the simple binary offering available in classical computers. The problem is that qubits are not stable and are highly subject to external disturbance from noise and heat. The most common solution to this problem is to use additional qubits to provide error correction to the operational qubits – but the result is that a general purpose operational quantum computer will require millions of qubits working together.

There is an alternative approach. Rather than use additional fragile ‘traditional’ qubits for error correction, create more stable qubits that require less error correction. This is the purpose of the topological qubit.

There are different types of topological qubits. Their potential has been known in theory for decades, but is now being proven in reality. In 2018, Microsoft announced progress in developing a Majorama topological qubit, which is a physical approach effectively operating in two dimensions. On May 9, 2023, Quantinuum announced its Kitaev topological qubit progress. This is a wave form solution controlling, and braiding, non-Abelian anyons using quantum entanglement to provide processing power.

Quantinuum’s topological approach has been made possible by using its own new H2 quantum processor announced at the same time. The firm claims it is the most powerful quantum computer currently available –available now through cloud-based access from Quantinuum, and available through Azure Quantum in June 2023.

The relevance of workable topological qubits for the scientific world is that fewer qubits will be required to develop large scale general purpose computers – for medicine, research, and new approaches to global issues such as climate change.
The relevance to the cybersecurity world is that it brings the so-called cryptopocalypse – the day that our existing encryption algorithms fall to quantum computing – closer. Closer, but not ‘panic-level’ close, suggests Henrik Dreyer, MD, and scientific lead at Quantinuum Germany.

“They’ve done the math,” he told SecurityWeek, “and shown that to run Shor’s algorithm you need significantly fewer of these non-Abelian qubits. But we’re saying you still need at least 10^3 of these specific qubits to crack a relevant number. I wouldn’t want to alarm people. Shor is closer, yes, but is still not very close.”

Nevertheless, if NIST is already stressing urgency in migrating to agile post-quantum encryption, that urgency has become a little more pronounced.

Quantinuum was formed in 2021 with the merger of Honeywell Quantum Solutions (US), a division of Honeywell, and Cambridge Quantum (UK). The result is claimed to be “world’s largest integrated quantum computing company”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Related: Cyber Insights 2023 | Quantum Computing and the Coming Cryptopocalypse

Related: AI Helps Crack NIST-Recommended Post-Quantum Encryption Algorithm

Related: The Promise and Threat of Quantum Computing

Written By

Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Data Protection

The cryptopocalypse is the point at which quantum computing becomes powerful enough to use Shor’s algorithm to crack PKI encryption.

Artificial Intelligence

The CRYSTALS-Kyber public-key encryption and key encapsulation mechanism recommended by NIST for post-quantum cryptography has been broken using AI combined with side channel attacks.


The three primary drivers for cyber regulations are voter privacy, the economy, and national security – with the complication that the first is often...

Application Security

Fortinet on Monday issued an emergency patch to cover a severe vulnerability in its FortiOS SSL-VPN product, warning that hackers have already exploited the...

Cybersecurity Funding

Los Gatos, Calif-based data protection and privacy firm Titaniam has raised $6 million seed funding from Refinery Ventures, with participation from Fusion Fund, Shasta...

Application Security

Many developers and security people admit to having experienced a breach effected through compromised API credentials.

Application Security

Virtualization technology giant VMware on Tuesday shipped urgent updates to fix a trio of security problems in multiple software products, including a virtual machine...