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Senators Propose Bill to Transition Federal Computers to Post-Quantum Cryptography

Quantum computing

Senators Propose Bill to Transition Federal Computers to Post-Quantum Cryptography

Senators have proposed legislation seeking to protect federal government computers from future quantum computers.

The White House published a memo in May warning about the security implications of the technology. A sufficiently powerful quantum computer can defeat current cryptographic techniques used to protect communications, critical infrastructure and financial transactions, the memo read.

The bipartisan Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, introduced by Sens. Rob Portman and Maggie Hassan, would direct agencies to maintain an inventory of the cryptographic systems that they use.

Agency heads would then report to relevant authorities which of their information technology systems are still vulnerable to decryption by quantum computers, the authors of the bill wrote.

The government would prioritize the migration of systems based on how much risk their decryption poses. Agencies would then develop a plan to migrate IT to post-quantum cryptography with guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Portman and Hassan highlighted the rapid progress in the emerging technology field. U.S. adversaries might use classical computers today to steal encrypted secrets and use future quantum computers to decrypt them, the lawmakers added.

Federal agencies have taken steps to address the issue. In early July, NIST announced the first four quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms that came out of its six-year encryption design competition.

The government also recently awarded QuSecure a Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract for its quantum-resilient software solution for communications and data.

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Category: Cybersecurity