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Where Next for Quantum Computing and Cybersecurity?

A CNBC headline last month grabbed my attention: The race toward a new computing technology is heating up — and Asia is jumping on the trend.

I immediately wanted to know: What technology?

The answer came in the first summary bullet: “Japan has made key advancements in the quantum computer race, India has developed its own strategy for the technology and debates are simmering over whether China has surpassed the US on some fronts.”

WHY QUANTUM COMPUTING?

I have been intrigued by advances in quantum computing for several years. I wrote this blog on the topic back in early 2020, before the pandemic took hold.

Here’s an excerpt: “This past week, the Washington Post wrote that the US hatches plan to build a quantum Internet that might be unhackable. The new network would sit alongside the existing web, offering a more secure way to send and process information.”

So why am I so intrigued by this topic? As I quoted from the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2020, A quantum Internet would ‘rely on the laws of quantum mechanics to control and transmit information more securely than ever before,’ according to DOE. The department’s 17 national labs will work on the secure network, which could be used for science, industry and national security.”

Meanwhile, two weeks ago, Brookings.edu published this piece on “How US policymakers can enable breakthroughs in quantum science”: “the field of quantum information science and technology (QIST), stands at the cusp of a series of breakthroughs that could finally bring quantum technology — and the great benefits it will likely bring with it — into the mainstream. But progress in QIST is fragile, and sustaining this progress requires investment and coordination by the US government and a continued policy of openness toward the scientists that will deliver these breakthroughs. …

“Just as federal investment in the 1960s to the 1980s incubated the breakthrough technologies that made today’s Internet possible, US policymakers now have an opportunity to facilitate major advances in quantum computing — and make them as widely available as possible. As with the Internet, the development of a quantum Internet and associated systems like quantum computers and quantum sensors should be aimed initially at providing new capabilities to scientists and other researchers to make new discoveries. To this end, it is important to provide open access to those who wish to use federally supported infrastructure for research. Private companies have a significant role to play by making available open platforms for quantum computing, like IBM’s Quantum Experience.”

One more recent piece to point out comes from FedTech Magazine: “Much of the budget growth is for activities related to the National Quantum Initiative Act, signed into law in 2018. This includes the establishment of quantum consortia by the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes by the National Science Foundation; National Quantum Information Science Research Centers by the Department of Energy; and the coordination and strengthening of core QIS programs across multiple agencies, according to the report.”

QUANTUM COMPUTING AND CYBERSECURITY

There are many reports that describe the potential impacts of quantum computing on the cyber industry. This article describes how to prepare now for a post-quantum world.

Here’s an excerpt: “So how does a business become post-quantum-prepared? Firstly, do not wait until NIST issues its standard. The time to become post-quantum-prepared is now. Begin by determining what data is most likely to be sought out by cyber criminals. …

“Keeping the amount of important/vulnerable data in mind, a strategy should be developed to address the business’s priorities for using quantum resistant encryption. Next, develop your priorities for quantum-resistant encryption while making a plan to upgrade your infrastructure for the next several years.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are certain technology topics that we need to keep checking in on to see advances and next steps, like autonomous vehicles, the metaverse and artificial intelligence.

And quantum computing needs to stay near the top of that list throughout the 2020s.

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