October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: a time to reinvigorate our efforts to enhance cybersecurity both at work and at home. The stakes get higher every year as more data travels across more devices, on the internet and in the cloud. But this year brings an even greater emphasis on security and the role each of us plays, shining a light on new vulnerabilities resulting from the global pandemic. Each day we see new headlines that illustrate the vulnerabilities of the “new normal” as much of the workforce moves to unmonitored personal systems, giving attackers a new vector to gain foothold. Whether it’s phishing scams targeting the White House, poor encryption by popular web conferencing systems, or a mass migration to VPNs, COVID-19 is giving malicious attackers more opportunities to compromise systems.
The overarching theme of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020 is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” The theme empowers individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace, “if you connect it, protect it.” Never has there been a time when our reliance on the internet has been so important and the need for cybersecurity awareness and action so great.
As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times and adopt to a “new normal,” another major security threat is taking root – the day in which a quantum computer will break the encryption that secures passwords, user accounts, data, financial transactions, and every other aspect of digital life. History shows that past cryptographic transitions can take years, even decades to complete, think RSA 1024 to RSA 2048 or SHA-1 to SHA-256. In 2016, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) warned that all organizations should start preparing NOW for the coming quantum cryptographic break. That was four years ago! Security professionals must heed that advice today to prepare their organizations for the quantum-security threat.
The pandemic and the looming quantum threat have created a perfect storm for IT and InfoSec professionals responsible for near and long-term data protection and security strategies. Most organizations are looking for a gradual approach to quantum safety, one that can easily and affordable evolve over time. Quantum Xchange’s patent-pending, quantum-safe key distribution system, Phio TX provides the agility and ease-of-use needed to establish a secure encryption foundation that can easily scale to meet the evolving threat landscape – allowing customers to be quantum-safe today and quantum-ready for future attacks.
This month of cybersecurity awareness should include an awareness of the impact quantum developments will have on the security of our critical communications and data. If the government and private sectors fail to adopt security measures before quantum computing becomes mainstream, most American institutions will be at risk. Cybersecurity awareness needs to include quantum literacy, ensuring key stakeholders understand the quantum threat and what’s at stake if they don’t act now to prepare.
This “new normal” caused by the pandemic and the looming quantum threat is forcing organizations to rethink their security strategies and deploy security-forward solutions that improve their existing crypto environment, protect critical data in transit, and prepare them for the quantum age. Don’t wait, get started today on your journey toward quantum safety.