Rene: Hi! This is QuBites, your bite-sized pieces of quantum computing! And welcome back to season three after our short summer break. My name is Rene from Valorem Reply and today we're going to talk about quantum security. And for this one, for episode one of season three, I'm very honored to have a special expert guest today, and this is Xenia Bogomolec. Hi Xenia, welcome to the show. How are you today?
Xenia: Hi Rene! I'm fine. Looking forward to talking to you.
Rene: Awesome! So, Xenia, you have a super interesting biography I want to talk a little bit later on, but can you just tell us briefly about yourself and your background as relates to security in quantum computing?
Xenia: Yes, very shortly. I originally come from mathematics and over system development I got into security and quantum security because I do have a strong background in algorithmic algebra and also linear algebra. So that's the foundations of quantum computing and yeah.
Rene: Yeah, it's all it's all vector algebra, mathematics, linear algebra, all over the place right? AI, also one of my topics, 3D computer graphics. All of these things where you need linear algebra, it describes nature in its best way, I guess. But let's dive into today's topics. I was recently listening to a podcast called ‘She Likes Tech’ and you have been a guest on the show, and you talked about your impressive biography. And so, is it correct that you were actually a professional ballet dancer and then you studied math and became a super security expert here? Can you tell us a little bit about your journey? And by the way, I live in Dresden, so I know you also have been working here in Dresden as a ballet dancer, right? Then you studied math, tell us a little bit about it.
Xenia: Yeah. So, almost everything is true which you said, just you have to [remove] the word ballet because I was a contemporary dancer.
Rene: Ah! Sorry.
Xenia: Doesn't matter really but the difference is that I was already a freelancer at this time. Yeah, I worked in Dresden and it's a lovely town. It was one of the most beautiful times of my life.
Rene: That's awesome and then you studied math a little bit later and then, like you just said right, you specialized in algorithmic development and so on.
Xenia: Right, yeah. First, I became a mother, and I already knew I wanted to study math because I love math as much as I loved dancing. And as soon as my little boy then, now he's a grown-up man, went to kindergarten, I took the chance and started my masters.
Rene: Very good, and impressive also! Since you’re a mother and also the other work you had to do on the side, like you know studying on one side and so on. I can imagine it was a tough time, and yeah, very impressive. I'm very impressed by that.
Xenia: Thank you very much.
Rene: And then later you founded Quant-X Security & Coding GmbH, like we say in German right? And so, you’re co-founder of the company and so, what are you doing there?
Xenia: Actually, I’m the only founder.
Rene: Ah, there we go!
Xenia: Yeah. So, we have three departments, very small. We are very small company, but three departments. One, information security as a whole holistic thing. Where we do mostly consulting. And then we do have the department system development, where we have just normal system development full stack web systems and so on. And the third one is quantum algorithms and quantum security. Why is it together? If you want to understand post quantum or quantum security in depth, you need to understand quantum technologies and specific function operations as well.
Rene: It's a good point, like you're saying, we need to be aware about the post quantum cryptography because in one of the previous QuBites episodes for example, we talked with Lea Jäntgen [from Spike Reply DE] about the basics of quantum security. And she mentioned the threat [quantum poses] for the currently used cryptography. Our whole Internet communications is based on it in the end, right? And also, just recently I saw that IBM is basically predicting they will have a quantum computer with 1000 qubits by the end of 2023. And so, this is like around two years from now a little bit. And so, that is, I mean if they can hold up to the promise, that is definitely a near approaching threat for the current security, right?
Xenia: It is very much. And we also have to consider that migrations in IT always take a long time. We think it's simple, but I mean I've been working in banking projects, from a regulatory perspective, in the past years and sometimes just one simple function to migrate from one technology to another takes years. And also, we need to think of the data collectors because eall data which is collected now and stored safely will be [at risk of decryption] whenever we have quantum computers available. So, if you have data now which should remain confidential and integral, in the next years, you should start thinking about a migration to post quantum security.
Rene: So, like the call to action you could say for business leaders from your end would be like get going now. Think about it now. Don't wait for it to happen, because it will happen and it might happen sooner than later, and actually earlier than most expect.
Xenia: Exactly, its a call to action with a preliminary [step of] first [analyzing] which things need to be migrated. Because some things do not, but some things do.
Rene: And like you said, typically [within] enterprise companies you have a large history and a lot of systems that are quite old right and often not touched a lot. I mean you always hear about COBOL, right? The good ole programming language, COBOL. It’s still being used in some companies to a large extent and there is, for example, not enough COBOL programmers anymore in the world, right? Because it's not taught anymore in universities [and] schools. And so, this is a big big challenge. And so, let’s not have this happen to security, right?
Xenia: Yes. We don’t’ want that, right?
Rene: But there’s also opportunities I think with quantum computing and quantum communication for security, right? Like for example, quantum key distribution and couple of other things. What is your opinion on that? What is the opportunity here and maybe you can share some examples?
Xenia: Yes, I mean quantum communication networks have been established all over the world [for] many years. DARPA, Tokyo, Swiss government and so on. I mean more and more are showing up in the [quantum] circle, if you want to call it that. The next challenge will be to have dynamic quantum communication networks in the same way our current Internet works. So, when we have this, we will also need post quantum secure algorithms for partner authentication. That's something which is [organizations are already] implementing on top now. Then we have both technologies combined, quantum communication and the math-based post quantum security. Yeah, it’s cool, we should go for it.
Rene: Yes, yes. And it’s important to have our secure communication. And also, crypto agility plays a role here right? Folks have their systems, or enterprise customers have their systems in such a way that certain cryptography algorithms, or like a cryptography server or something like that, you have more central places to maintain and that you have a [lower] agility too for change adoption.
Xenia: Yeah, and being able to have swift changes would be a very good preliminary requirement for any migrations towards post quantum security.
Rene: Well, thank you so much Xenia, we're already at the end of our short show here today. It was very impressive to hear your story, your journey and the things you're doing. And the important work you're doing to make our Internet and the whole communication secure with the consulting you provide. And so, thank you so much for joining us today. This is very much appreciated.
Xenia: Very much appreciated [on] my side. Thank you Rene.
Rene: And thanks everyone for joining us for yet another episode of QuBites, your bite-sized pieces of quantum computing. Watch our blog and follow our social media channels to hear all about the next episodes of fresh new season 3. Take care and see you soon. Bye, bye!