October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month: a time for us to reinvigorate our efforts to enhance cybersecurity both at work and at home. The stakes get higher every year as more of our high-value data moves around, across the internet and into the cloud. When you consider the development of quantum computers, the stakes get higher still.
Cybersecurity takes on a whole new meaning in a quantum world, requiring a different level of effort to ensure we’re protecting our information. Our current encryption methods will be at a significant risk when quantum computers become a practical reality, as our current methods will be rendered largely obsolete.
The recent news of Google’s achievement of “quantum supremacy”, albeit controversial, is indicative of the progress being made in the quantum realm. Although Google’s accomplishment doesn’t mean that quantum computers are ready and available immediately to decrypt data, it underscores the criticality of preparing for the advent of quantum computers because progress continues to be made at an increasingly faster pace. We can’t afford to sit back and wait. (Other nations, such as China and Russia, aren’t sitting back and waiting.)
Preparing for a quantum world, and the threat it poses to our encryption, requires industry and government to invest a significant amount of time and money – today. So far, the private sector, with leaders such as Google and IBM, has been making this investment; but the government needs to intensify its commitment to ensure the U.S. is leading the “quantum race” that’s developing.
Quantum Xchange’s John Prisco made this point clear in his opinion piece published in the Hill about how the U.S. needs to improve its National Policy when it comes to quantum science. Fortunately, as quantum technology garners more attention, many at the federal level are starting to get engaged. The National Quantum Initiative Act, passed by the House of Representatives in September, is a step in the right direction. It directs the President to establish the goals and priorities for a 10-year plan to accelerate the development of quantum information science and technology applications.
Ten years might be too late, though. Investments need to be made now – and efforts like those made by Quantum Xchange in building quantum-safe solutions for our communications are essential.
This month of cybersecurity awareness should include an awareness of the impact quantum developments will have on the security of our communications and data. Prisco rightfully points out in his article that if the government and private sectors fail to adopt security measures before quantum computing becomes a more common occurrence within the information technology field, most American institutions will be at risk.  In turn, that awareness needs to turn info action, investment and a plan for how to secure our data in when quantum computers come online.
Learn more about how Quantum Xchange can help you develop a quantum-safe plan for your communications.