February 8, 2024
The Linux Foundation has launched the Post-Quantum Cryptography Alliance, a collaborative approach to research and development aimed at taming the data security threats posed by quantum computing. The PQCA is presenting itself as turn-key source for companies and projects looking for production-ready libraries and service packages that support compliance with the National Security Agency’s new cybersecurity standards for government contractors or would like to provide themselves and their clients with safety precautions equal to “top secret” NSA classification. Founding members include Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Google, IBM and Nvidia.
In September 2022, the NSA released the Commercial National Security Algorithm Suite 2.0 (CNSA 2.0), a cybersecurity advisory notifying those dealing with national security systems of the government requirement for quantum-resistant (QR) algorithms for networks designated NSS, containing classified information or material deemed critical to military and intelligence activities.
The protocols outlined have come to be considered best practices for security conscious-firms.
“With the rapid advancements in quantum computing, the need for robust cryptographic solutions that can withstand attacks from future cryptographically-relevant quantum computers has become paramount,” the Linux Foundation writes in a news announcement that says the PQCA “will strive to enable cryptographic agility” based on the NSA timelines.
“Quantum computing poses significant cryptographic security challenges given its potential to break the current cryptographic protocols that secure digital communications and data,” writes SiliconANGLE. With their capability to process information using quantum bits, these machines can solve complicated problems in fractions of a second.
It is expected they will be able to crack encryption challenges in a flash, rendering obsolete current classical compute methodologies.
TechTarget reports that the PQCA says it will participate in technical projects related to “the development, evaluation, prototyping and deployment of post-quantum algorithms.” Among the first, an open-source initiative supporting the Open Quantum Safe (OQS) project, which supports “the transition to quantum-resistant cryptography” based at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
There is limited availability for quantum computers today, but their use is expected to expand in the next two to five years. IBM, Amazon and Google are advancing quantum processes, and Intel last year began shipping quantum chips.
Fujitsu and the RIKEN national research institute in October began offering a quantum system in Japan.
As quantum advances, classical computing endeavors to keep up. IBM Quantum and IonQ researchers this month reported using traditional methods to accomplish “in a mere 0.00257947 seconds” a computational task for quantum experiment conducted by a Harvard-led team, demonstrating “the ability of classical computing to adapt and respond to quantum advancements,” according to Quantum Insider.
“The launch of PQCA comes roughly one year after IBM published a roadmap to help federal agencies and businesses with the migration to post-quantum computing,” says Security Week, noting that “also last year, the UK and U.S. government agencies published guidance to help organizations with the transition.”