The Death of Cybersecurity as We Know It

You know things are serious when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) gets involved. 

The NIST might be the only nonpartisan governing body in the entire U.S. political system — if such a thing exists. 

In a nutshell, the NIST is designed to create universal technical standards that promote fair industrial competition. Its contributions to society during its 121-year lifetime cannot be overstated. 

No industry is safe from the Institute’s rigorous scrutiny. Construction, semiconductor manufacturing, food service, and even medical care all have their own appropriate standards. 

In recent years, one of the NIST’s biggest concerns has been cybersecurity — namely encryption standards. The U.S. is practically in the dark ages in this regard. 

In all fairness, the rest of the world isn’t doing much better. 

Right now, hackers are more than capable of breaking into almost any target they want. Many of them need nothing more than a midgrade laptop and internet access. 

Granted, there’s a limit to how much damage these low-tech attackers can cause. They can trick you into handing over your passwords, but they could never break the standard AES-256 encryption and outright steal your data. 

Our modern economic system is built on relative security. Not even a modern supercomputer could crack the encryption in less than a few billion years, so for all practical purposes, the data is unhackable. 

Now, pause for a moment and imagine a scenario in which anyone could crack that data security in a few minutes. The world’s financial systems would crumble in an instant. 

All the information in the world would flow directly to the highest bidder. 

That’s EXACTLY what has the NIST absolutely terrified and it’s coming much sooner than the world is ready for. 

 

Data Security Is a Thing of the Past 

The infamous rash of ransomware attacks in 2021 cost the world untold billions of dollars. Fortunately, it was also a much-needed wake-up call. 

To give credit where it’s due, both the public and private sectors put forth a modest effort to beef up security. 

If you’ve recently been forced to enter a text message code before logging into your bank account, you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Social engineering, a technique that usually involves conning an unsuspecting employee, is a hacker’s most powerful weapon by far. The majority of all successful security breaches start with some type of manipulation.

Well-trained staff with proper procedures in place can fend off the vast majority of social engineering attacks, but soon it won’t matter. New computing technology is strong enough to break through encryption without ever involving a human. 

Critics claim the technology is still far from maturity, but the NIST isn’t taking any chances. It just released a new set of cybersecurity standards that should future-proof the world’s data.

The four chosen algorithms are CRYSTALS-Kyber for general encryption and CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON, and SPHINCS+ for digital encryption.

The math behind these new algorithms is incredible. They rely on a complex lattice-based system that is fully immune to even the most powerful attacks. 

Or at least that’s what the NIST needs to happen. Even the experts don’t fully understand the potential behind these new computers. 

Claiming to create a “quantum-resistant” algorithm when we’ve barely scratched the surface on quantum technology is a recipe for disaster.

On one hand, this technology is the gateway to previously unimaginable opportunities. On the other hand, it’s also one of the greatest threats to humanity since nuclear weapons. 

That’s why nearly every relevant company in the tech sector wants to crack it first. 

Giants like IBM have sunk more money into this than some countries see in a year. Meanwhile, an army of smaller companies are clearing technical hurdles on a daily basis. 

In my humble opinion, the underdogs have done more for this field of science than any of the big names combined. One in particular has been the focus of my team’s research for more than a year now. 

Whoever achieves this quantum dominance will kick off a technological empire unlike anything else humanity has ever seen. 

I wish I were exaggerating. Learn more here if you still don’t believe me.

To your wealth,

Luke Sweeney
Contributor, Energy and Capital

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Luke’s technical know-how combined with an insatiable scientific curiosity has helped uncover some of our most promising leads in the tech sector. He has a knack for breaking down complicated scientific concepts into an easy-to-digest format, while still keeping a sharp focus on the core information. His role at Angel is simple: transform piles of obscure data into profitable investment leads. When following our recommendations, rest assured that a truly exhaustive amount of research goes on behind the scenes..