Quantum technologies, what’s ahead of us?


In today’s modern digital landscape, intelligence operations face a range of complex challenges, particularly in safeguarding sensitive information and countering cyber threats.

The emergence of quantum technology presents both significant risks and opportunities for intelligence agencies globally.

While AI has dominated discussions in this field in recent years, it is essential to emphasize the even greater importance of Quantum Technologies (QT).

QT originates from quantum mechanics, a field with a history spanning more than a century, where its early applications, labeled as Quantum Revolution 1.0, harnessed the statistical characteristics of quantum behavior.

This had far-reaching effects on different aspects of society, including military and global security, as well as the advancement of technologies such as atomic weapons, microchips, computing, and precise navigation (Krelina & Dúbravčík, 2023).

A quantum computing race involving tech giants like IBM, Google, and Microsoft, as well as start-ups, defense firms, and universities, with potential quantum advances on the horizon, could significantly alter the landscape of cyber-warfare (Wadhwa, 2015).

Quantum computers have the potential to compromise conventional encryption methods, making critical data vulnerable to theft or compromise.

On the flip side, quantum technology offers quantum-safe encryption solutions and cyber resilience strategies that can bolster the security of intelligence operations. One of the ongoing technological innovations under the quantum umbrella is Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).

QKD offers a means of securely distributing and sharing essential cryptographic keys while ensuring their privacy between communicating parties. This hinges on the unique property of quantum systems; any attempt to observe or disturb them disrupts their quantum characteristics, making it a valuable security feature (Quantum Flagship, 2023).

Experimental efforts over the past three decades have primarily aimed at overcoming the significant challenges associated with implementing quantum key distribution (QKD) networks at scale. These challenges include the gap between theoretical idealities and practical implementations due to imperfections in devices, such as imperfect photon sources and detectors, which can lead to security vulnerabilities. Additionally, the challenge of achieving large-scale QKD networks is hindered by high channel loss and decoherence over long distances, necessitating innovative solutions like quantum repeaters or satellite-based quantum communication (Zhang et al., 2018)

Krelina, M., & Dúbravčík, D. (2023, February 16). Quantum Technology for Defence. Joint Air
Competence Centre — NATO’s Advocate to Air and Space Power. Retrieved October 18, 2023, from https://www.japcc.org/articles/quantum-technology-for-defence/

Quantum Flagship. (2023). Quantum key distribution (QKD). https://qt.eu/quantum-principles/communication/quantum-key-distribution-qkd

Wadhwa, V. (2015, May 11). The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/05/11/quantum-computing-is-about-to-overturn-cybersecuritys-balance-of-power/

Zhang, Q., Xu, F., Chen, Y.-A., Peng, C.-Z., & Pan, J.-W. (2018). Large scale quantum key distribution: challenges and solutions [Invited]. Optics Express, 26(18), 24260–24273. https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.26.024260



Isti Marta Sukma, M.A.
Cyberpolitics and Security Warfare

Interdisciplinary researcher based in Warsaw. I write political science, tech, security, psychoanalysis and philosophy.