A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) engineer laid out some of the steps that government and the private sector should start taking now to prepare for the eventual impact of quantum computing technologies at ATARC’s August 25 Quantum Security Challenge event.

The development of real-world quantum computing is still in its early stages, but its impact is foreseen to be game-changing for data science, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, among many others.

Speaking of the presumed ability of quantum computing to crack current encryption algorithms, Bill Newhouse, an engineer at NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, advised, “it’s important to ask your vendors about how they plan to approach that, then you have to understand what do you have that is sensitive that’s being protected today” with encryption.

Newhouse also explained how getting quantum-ready is something that is not only on the radar in the United States, but also with allied nations around the globe.

“I’ve mentioned other groups quantum working groups – the Cloud Security Alliance has one,” along with similar activities underway at the European Commission, he said. “These nations are all thinking about this space,” Newhouse said.

The NIST engineer’s remarks came on the same day as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a new guideline aimed at preparing critical infrastructure operators in the United States for the cybersecurity dangers of post-quantum cryptography.

“When quantum computers reach higher levels of computing power and speed, they will be capable of breaking public key cryptography, threatening the security of business transactions, secure communications, digital signatures, and customer information,” the agency said.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.