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Malware In Quantum Computing? 91

Posted by kdawson
from the not-too-early-to-think-about-it dept.
MattSparkes writes, "Today's quantum computers are not sophisticated enough to do anything malicious to your online bank account; the field is in its infancy. However, there are in theory more ways to attack quantum computers than classical ones. As quantum networking takes off, this is going to become a larger and more immediate problem." The Wikipedia article correctly identifies as an unsolved problem in physics the question of whether it is possible to construct a practical computer that performs calculations on qubits.
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Malware In Quantum Computing?

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  • Links (Score:3, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:37PM (#16563068) Journal
    Anyone want to post the correct links?

    (must post anonymously so people don't figure out I RTFA)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      (must post anonymously so people don't figure out I RTFA)

      Your security procedures, someone must have looked at the qubit representing your anonymous state.
  • Does that mean by not looking at it it will cease to exist?
  • by neuro.slug (628600) <<neuro__> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:37PM (#16563080)
    Just don't install Windows Vista XP Pro, which, ironically, requires a quantum computer to run.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Reverend528 (585549)
      Just don't install Windows Vista Pro

      As long as you don't put all 32 qubits into a superposition, you'll be fine. Otherwise you may be forced to pay the licensing fee to run it on 4,294,967,296 CPUs.

      • by Anpheus (908711)
        And to think, I almost bought into their pennies-per-cpu licensing fee! It's a good thing any research department that can afford a quantum computer can afford the multi-million dollar Windows Quantum (Student and Teacher Edition, of course.)
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        I'm not putting them into superposition, MS can send a tech over to look at them himself!
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:39PM (#16563100)
    I'm a little uncertain, but I think that you can either know what's been infected, or how fast it's being infected, but not both...
    • I wish, I had some mod points to mod the parent up and funny!

      Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principl e [wikipedia.org]

      I remember one more on the same lines...
      Mr. Heisenberg is driving on the free way and a police officer stopped him for speeding. Officer walks up to Heisenberg's car and asks him, "Sir, do you know how fast you are going?" Mr. Heisenberg said "Officer, I have no idea how fast I am going, but I know exactly where I am."
  • ...There are wormholes.
    These are normally found where there is an abundance of tachyon emissions.

    Make a sensor for those and we can remove the wormholes and finally get rid of the worms.

    QED
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?" Computer prints out "1337".
  • by Lurker2288 (995635) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:46PM (#16563232)
    Quantum malware will be a huge threat...as soon as we have the widespread adoption of quantum computers performing sensitive tasks. And people who understand how to program viruses for them. And quantum computers for the virus programmers.

    Is this really even a story? We may as well be worrying about where to buy reliable crossbows once the atomic wars destroy civilization.
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      We may as well be worrying about where to buy reliable crossbows once the atomic wars destroy civilization.

      I agree, but my "Ask Slashdot" article on the subject was rejected. :(
    • by cstoner (948217)
      The problem is that "quantum malware" can be as simple as kicking a machine (or setting off a sufficiently sized bomb nearby). Quantum states are fickle and easy to shift.
      This is the same thing as a virus that erases/corrupts your hard-drive.

      Computer viruses have come a long way since then, and so will "quantum malware." The real point is that this is the first paper of it's kind (in nearly 2 decades of research on quantum computing).
  • by Quadraginta (902985) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:47PM (#16563256)
    I'd like to point out, vice Larry Niven, that when teleportation and faster-than-light drives are invented they will make new types of crime possible.

    Not only that, but when immortality becomes possible, just think of the new pressures on the Earth's resources. Yet I'm going to bet those irresponsible doctor and medical researcher types haven't thought at all about this as they try to cure cancer and so forth.
    • by Joebert (946227)
      Not only that, but when immortality becomes possible, just think of the new pressures on the Earth's resources. Yet I'm going to bet those irresponsible doctor and medical researcher types haven't thought at all about this as they try to cure cancer and so forth.

      Well, if there was immortality, we wouldn't have much stopping us from searching the galaxy for more resources would we ?
      • Depends. Age/Disease immortality doesn't mean we're immune to starvation, getting smooshed or suffocated. So we'd still need to build a ship that can propel itself between stars, and carry enough fuel and energy to generate the food and work reliably for the hundreds and thousands of years a trip would take yet still spend fewer resources than such a mission could realistically bring back. Plenty of hurdles left methinks.
      • by khallow (566160)
        Oh, great. Those doctors haven't thought of what will happen when the immortal, ravenous human hordes hit the fragile galactic ecosystem either. Well, the one that will exist in a few billion years that is. How irresponsible.
        • by Pharmboy (216950)
          ...what will happen when the immortal, ravenous human hordes hit the fragile galactic ecosystem ...

          I'm waiting for the protests from the new PETA...

          People for the Ethical Treatment of Asteroids.
        • by Joebert (946227)
          This message not actually brought to you by,
          Trojan Condoms - Doing their part to save the galaxy.
    • by Pharmboy (216950)
      I always thought that immortality could be used as a stealth weapon, albeit a slow one. Pretend there is a country you don't like but can't legally go to war with. For the sake of arguement, lets pretend it is France.

      1. USA offers all French seniors free immortality pills. (who would want to die?)
      2. French govt. checks for retirement never end, so they must raise taxes each year.
      3. Young educated people can't take the taxes, they leave and come to America.
      4. France is screwed because they are broke an
      • I always thought that immortality could be used as a stealth weapon, albeit a slow one. Pretend there is a country you don't like but can't legally go to war with.

        ...so you elect a Republican president and bomb the hell outta them anyways. "legal, shmegal" be damned. Much cheaper than immortality drugs.

      • So how is that different from France now?

      • by sarf (1004961)
        Don't worry.

        First of all, retiring is only a viable option when society (and the insurance companies) know that you are going to kick the bucket (statistically) soon after starting to cash out on the retirement money.

        "Retiring" as a concept will be abolished, because the only reason for retiring is growing too old to be a productive cog in the machinery.

        Sidenote: I wonder how people would do things differently with regards to their work if they were, essentially, never going to die of age.

        Of course, society
    • I think you're right except for the "too early to think about it" part. Why wouldn't we want to think about the possible consequences of our inventions? Must we make all our mistakes and screw things up before we start thinking about them, or can't we try to consider the problems we might be inventing in order to avoid them?

      • Why wouldn't we want to think about the possible consequences of our inventions?

        Becausing thinking takes energy and time, which may be put to better use elsewhere. Or to put it more poetically:

        "If all of us contemplate the Infinite instead of fixing the drains, many of us will die of cholera."

        While we always hear quite a lot about the wisdom of thinking everything out ahead of time, I'll just mention that there's a lot to be said for trial-and-error, too. You waste a lot less time thinking carefully throu
        • Sure, that might be true if we were, for example, contemplating every possible scenario of extra-terrestrial visitation. What happens if Jesus comes from planet Nebulon riding a purple dragon? Yeah, that probably not worth wondering about. Quantum computing, on the other hand, is something being worked on right now. If there are going to be security flaws fundamental to the technology, it might be worth thinking about.

          Your other example, will we overtax our natural resources if we can stave off death f

      • by sarf (1004961)
        It's the Human Way (tm)!

        Tried and tested for thousands of years - why change a clearly winning concept? :)
  • I'll bet that if your quantum antivirus knows you have a quantum virus it won't know what directory its in and if it knows the directory it won't know the name of the files to kill...
  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:55PM (#16563412) Homepage
    IANAPhysist. In fact, when the article began to spew forth quantum mechanics info, my eye began to develop a twitch and I started to drool.

    However, I am a self proclaimed computer geek. The main benefit of quantum computers, as I understand it, is an exponential leap in computing power and storage of such systems. If I understand correctly, a qubit can be altered by it's environment and change it's state, thus ruining it's data. I fail to see how this differs from computers today. Run a magnet over a hard drive enough times and good by data. Hard drives fail and lose data all the time, but we have sophisticated data checking algorythms designed to catch this kind of thing so that it doesn't get out of hand. It looks like they are doing something similar here.

    I don't understand how one creates a worm with this either. If you know qubit for qubit, what data you want to change, then perhaps, but that requires knowing the qubits ahead of time, doesn't it? Same way with bits today. People create worms due to vulnerabilities within the hardware and software that they can program in. I know of no viruses which rewrite data specifically on their knowledge of ones and zeros.

    Could a worm try to attack the physical nature of a quantum computer and run the data by physically attacking it? I don't know in quantum computers, but maybe that's what they are saying. The article is sufficiently arcane that it's difficult to see if it's just an attempt at fear mongering among us lessers, by saying "ooooo quantum computers are vulnerable to worms!" or if there is any real value to this article.

    A quantum to english translator is needed :)
    • by geoffspear (692508) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:25PM (#16564092) Homepage
      The main problem is that it's really hard to catch the guys putting viruses on your computers when they're living in a parallel universe.
    • >> I'm not a quantum expert, but this stuff seems to make a lot of sense to me -- at least if you are buying the drinks.

      What a Quantum Cubit does, as I've read (and it makes sense in my Quantum imaginations), is it can compute ALL POSSIBLE ANSWERS at one time. When I flip this sheet of paper over, it also has some winning lottery numbers -- also made obsolete by Quantum Computers if you believe the hype -- but not really since all numbers are valid answers.

      But conventional encryption won't work -- but
    • by eyal0 (912653)
      In short: If you had a "quantum hard drive", not only would you be unable to detect the error, if you even tried, you would ruin the data. And the article is still total FUD.

      Let me try a simplified explanation using my limited quantum computing knowledge.

      There are a bunch of parallel universes and every possible thing that could ever possibly happen is going on in one of them right now. (There's a universe in which you run into a wall and go right through it. In university-level physics you can calculate
  • by Rufty (37223) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @01:58PM (#16563484) Homepage
    If I *know* it's got malware, I can't be sure if it's dead or alive...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, a quantum Norton Antivirus would be easy. Just write a quantum application that doesn't do anything.
    • by Pharmboy (216950)
      Actually, a quantum Norton Antivirus would be easy. Just write a quantum application that doesn't do anything.

      But it would have to be very large, and have the ability to slow all the other functions of your computer to less than light speed as well.
    • Not quite - it has to both do nothing AND consume all the resources that you may or may not have (depending on whether you're observing those resources or not).
    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      But then how would you know it's not doing anything? It might actually be more useful than NAV.

  • Can anyone point me to some resources for me to learn more about quantum computing and especially quantum computational theory and algorithms?
    • Re:Somewhat Offtopic (Score:5, Informative)

      by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:27PM (#16564124) Journal
      What you need to learn about quantum computation is a function of what you know. If you know some mathematics, these are good: Kindergarten Quantum Mechanics [arxiv.org] and A Concise Introduction... [ucdavis.edu]. If you don't, I strongly suggest studying linear algebra, at least until you're 100% happy with tensor products of complex vector spaces, learning basic probability theory and then trying the second paper above.
      • by cstoner (948217)
        Wow... just thought I'd say: Great articles! I'm taking a course in Quantum Mechanics right now and have been looking for something very much like Kindergarden Quantum Mechanics... To be honest, I never even thought to combine category theory and Quantum Mech.
        /me really needs to start learning more category theory... it tends to pop up in really cool places.
        • Category theory is a great language for talking about linear algebra. And, conceptually at least, there really isn't much to quantum mechanics besides linear algebra. States are vectors, time evolution is a linear operator, combining two systems is a tensor product and so on.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    My pr0n-collection has wormholed itself to another dimension :(

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_superposition [wikipedia.org]

    I kinda wondered how somthing can be in two positions at once, then I thought about how the water in a toilet spins in different directions on either side of the earth.

    So in a sense, we're basicly looking for a way to get smaller versions of us to flush their toilets when we want them to.
    I guess looking at it like that, malware in quantum computing would be the turds in our toilets that clog them up.

    We must ask the cats, as they have been observin
    • Brilliant. Cogent. Concise.

      My thanks.

      Also:
      http://www.snopes.com/science/coriolis.htm [snopes.com]
    • Bad Coriolis [psu.edu]
    • I can't help pointing out that water does not, in fact, swirl the "wrong way" on the other side of the equator. The coriolis effect which purportedly causes this is far, far too small a force compared to any other influences (shape of the container, direction the water is sprayed into it, a butterfly in Puerto Rico) to cause this, the Simpsons notwithstanding.

      Where this effect does appear is in large air masses, or perfectly still, shallow pans of water tens of meters across.
  • *tries to look innocent*
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @02:44PM (#16564530) Homepage
    Simply find a parallel universe in which the quantum computer has already been rooted, and use that system to launch DDOU (Distributed Denial of Universe) attacks against the un-compromised quantum-entangled systems residing in nearby parallel universes.

    How are you going to defend against that?
  • "As quantum networking takes off"...WTF? I like to imagine the future as well but come on...
    • by Exocrist (770370)
      We're having a hard enough time getting IPv6 to take off, and here's all of this fuss about quantum networking.
  • The linked article on quantum networking talks about having to transfer a quantum state to a photon in order to transfer it, but it also says "...quantum entanglement, a spooky property that links particles however far apart they are...." Why not just make quantum networks that transfer using the quantum state directly. It would be faster-than-light networking, like the Ansible in Ender's Game.
    • Because while it's possible, it becomes quite difficult over larger and larger distances.
    • by zCyl (14362)

      "...quantum entanglement, a spooky property that links particles however far apart they are...." Why not just make quantum networks that transfer using the quantum state directly. It would be faster-than-light networking,

      First, to entangle two quantum states at a distance the entanglement must be established in a localized interaction after which the particles representing that state can move to a distance. And second, while entanglement links two states at a distance, it does not in any way permit a mecha

      • Can't you change the quantum state of one and have it instantly effect the other, and just watch the other one for the change? Plus, if you were to make a network like I said, of course you would physically take a particle from one machine to another and then have that machine use it to communicate with the first from there on. But if it doesn't work like that, like you say, then it's a moot point.
  • Wow...that was a silly article.
  • "calculations on qubits"

    Qubits?? What, are you stuck in the days of Noah? We live in the modern world now. All calulations are done in feet and inches. Get with the times.
    • by Miseph (979059)
      Feet and inches?? What, are you stuck in the days of Henry I? We live in the modern world now. All calculations are done in meters and centimeters. Get with the times.
  • There is nothing in the article about hacking quantum computers or networks, it just talks about errors in transmission.
  • In other news, a new study shows that warp drive travel may not be as safe as other means of transportation such as cars or planes.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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