Researchers at the University of Malta working to strengthen computers’ security systems

NATO is financing a security programme for researchers from the University of Malta to strengthen the security systems of computers.

Dr Christian Colombo, a researcher from the University of Malta said that the new technological era of  quantum computing is facing new challenges about how to address computer security systems and the IT sector.  Despite the research being carried out, Dr Colombo told TVM that no system is 100% safe.

This year, the Internet or the world wide web, is celebrating an important anniversary as 30 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee made the use of the Internet popular.

While the Internet created a revolution and became a crucial communications, entertainment and connectivity tool, it is not the first time that attacks on technology systems have occurred which comprise their security or even steal their systems.

With the number of cyber-attacks and malicious attacks increasing every day, over the last few years the security systems have continued to be strengthened in order to better protect the information.

“What is happening in the background so that the padlock would really be working is that underneath there are complicated systems which depend on mathematical problems which are very difficult to solve, so when you have a message to send and wish to keep it private, you will be passing it through this mathematical process which today’s computers have no way of solving within a short period of time,” said Dr Colombo.

He added that we are now heading towards a new era of quantum computing, which may possibly create challenges to the way we treat computers’ security systems and IT in general.

“We will have computers which are more powerful, known as quantum computers, and if this becomes a reality what we have assumed is something safe which we have been using for several years now, can all fall apart. Therefore, for this project, which is financed by NATO. we are looking towards new communication protocols which can be very strong even in the eventuality that quantum computers become a reality,” he said.

NATO’S peace and security agency is collaborating with various institutions including researchers from the University of Malta, so that in the change towards quantum computers, solutions can be found to anticipate these scenarios in the technological sector.

“In this case, those padlocks will be useless and that is what we are changing, the padlock system, so that even with all the power of quantum computers, there will still be an element of safety,” said Dr Colombo.

Asked why, despite the security, hacking and cyberattacks are still expected to continue, even on banking systems, Dr Colombo said that no security system is 100% safe and the human element remains crucial.