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With cyberattacks on the rise, organizations are already bracing for devastating quantum hacks

Mount Equity Group Tokyo, Japan > News > Tech > With cyberattacks on the rise, organizations are already bracing for devastating quantum hacks

Amidst the houses and the car parks sits GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters, in this aerial photo taken on October 10, 2005.David Goddard | Getty Images

LONDON — A little-known U.K. company called Arqit is quietly preparing businesses and governments for what it sees as the next big threat to their cyber defenses: quantum computers.

It’s still an incredibly young field of research, however some in the tech industry — including the likes of Google, Microsoft and IBM — believe quantum computing will become a reality in the next decade. And that could be worrying news for organizations’ cyber security.

David Williams, co-founder and chairman of Arqit, says quantum computers will be several millions of times faster than classical computers, and would be able to break into one of the most widely-used methods of cryptography.

“The legacy encryption that we all use to keep our secrets safe is called PKI,” or public-key infrastructure, Williams told CNBC in an interview. “It was invented in the 70s.”

“PKI was originally designed to secure the communications of two computers,” Williams added. “It wasn’t designed for a hyper-connected world where there are a billion devices all over the world communicating in a complex round of interactions.”

Arqit, which is planning