The race is on to safeguard encryption systems from the potential threats posed by quantum computers. Dubbed “Q-Day”, this refers to when quantum technology becomes capable of breaking encryption protocols that have been the backbone of data security for decades. While the exact timing of when quantum computers might reach this capability remains uncertain, the U.S. has been working on developing new, quantum-resistant encryption systems in anticipation of such a day.
- Quantum computing, once evolved to a certain level, can jeopardize the encryption systems, making sensitive data such as military intelligence and banking information vulnerable.
- The U.S., Russia, and China are in a race to advance quantum technology, with much of their progress kept secret.
- The U.S. initiated efforts in 2016 to develop new encryption systems impervious to even powerful quantum computers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is expected to provide guidelines on transitioning to these new systems soon.
- Quantum-resistant algorithms are being developed through international collaboration, with many built on the mathematical concept of lattices.
- Experts caution that adversaries might keep their technological advancements secret, utilizing them to access troves of data discreetly.