Government cybersecurity leaders have sounded the alarm on an encryption reckoning that quantum computing will soon unleash.
They are urging organizations across sectors to future-proof systems before quantum capabilities defeat current cryptography.
Powerful quantum machines can crack popular public key encryption by exploiting brute force speed. Algorithms securing sensitive data and communications today may quickly become obsolete in the quantum era.
The NSA, NIST and CISA have jointly called on public and private organizations to inventory vulnerable systems and partner with vendors immediately on updating encryption. Post-quantum cryptography that can withstand brute force is critical to avoid wholesale compromise of encrypted data.
The agencies advise developing transition roadmaps to next-gen encryption well before threats arise. With post-quantum standards expected by 2024, they caution against waiting to adapt. Time is of the essence.
The urgency reflects fears of stored encrypted data being unleashed for decryption once quantum computers pass viability thresholds. With national security implications, the government is driving early post-quantum preparedness.
This guidance represents the latest effort to ready society’s digital ecosystem for emerging technologies’ risks. Other programs have focused on AI security, quantum-secured telecommunications and supply chain hardware protections.
By championing post-quantum encryption now, the agencies hope to maintain America’s technical edge over threat actors eagerly awaiting the quantum crypto-collapse. Quantum computing will provide immense advantages, but only to those who prepare.
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