NIST To Release Post-Quantum Cryptography

NIST To Release Post-Quantum Cryptography

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National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will release post-quantum or quantum-resistant cryptography
National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will release post-quantum or quantum-resistant cryptography
National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will release post-quantum or quantum-resistant cryptography

According to The Record, a White House top official, Anne Neuberger, the White House’s top cyber advisor, has reported that the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) will release post-quantum or quantum-resistant cryptography algorithms in the coming weeks. Anne while speaking to an audience at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London regarded the release of these algorithms a “momentous moment” as they usher in another phase of cryptography.

NIST to release post-quantum cryptography algorithms in coming weeks, says, top White House advisor

The NIST reported that there has been significant progress in the research and development of quantum computers and algorithms in recent years. These machines theoretically have the potential to solve complex mathematical problems that are extremely difficult or impossible for traditional computers to solve. Now, while, the application of these quantum computers is not yet commercially usable, there continue to be milestone achievements that suggest the closeness of its usefulness.

In the eventuality of this occurrence, it means that quantum computers will naturally break many public key cryptosystems in use today both in private and government possession. This means that the confidentiality and integrity of digital communication protocols will be compromised leading to the degrading of the Internet and other major forms of communication.

Post Quantum Crytography

Post-quantum cryptography (or quantum-resistant cryptography) aims to develop secure cryptographic systems against the manipulation of both quantum and classical computers and the interoperability with existing communications protocols and networks.  Achieving this will be massive for the quantum computing community and ensuring that there are standards that govern the functionalities of these algorithms are in place is a major goal.

Statistically, modern public key cryptography infrastructure took about twenty years to be deployed according to NIST and this might be the timeframe that quantum computers may take to be fully deployed at scale. Anne Neuberger also said that the U.S. intelligence community shares similar timelines as they believe that cryptographically relevant quantum computers (CRQC) may be operational in  “the early 2030s” and this timeline is important because according to Anne Neuberger, “there is national security data that is collected today and even if decrypted eight years from now, can still be damaging.”

NCSC Warnings

The Record reported that Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned that contemporary threat actors could be collecting and storing intelligence data today for decryption “at some point in the future.”

“Given the cost of storing vast amounts of old data for decades, such an attack is only likely to be worthwhile for very high-value information,” stated the NCSC. As such, the possibility of a CRQC existing at some point in the next decade is a very relevant threat right now.

Anne Neuberger added: “Certainly there’s some data that’s time sensitive, you know, a ship that looks to be transporting weapons to a sanctioned country, probably in eight years we don’t care about that anymore.”

The release of the NIST's post-quantum cryptography algorithms will be a huge step in the right direction for quantum computing technology. Cryptographic systems rely on the mathematical difficulty of factoring very large prime numbers which is a highly difficult task for traditional computers to do and the advent of quantum computers may solve them easily based on quantum entanglement states that enable fast computation of complex problems so preparing for them from now is what is needed to safeguard sensitive data in organizations globally.

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