Why quantum computing poses a data security threat to society | Risk Advisory | Deloitte Netherlands


Why quantum computing poses a data security threat to society

Five steps to help you prepare for post-quantum cryptography

Cryptographic algorithms are used to digitally encode messages and data. The “trusted internet” relies on these algorithms, and the digital economy in turn depends on this trust. However, the introduction of quantum computers can potentially render some of these algorithms unsafe, which will have a tremendous impact on data security and privacy. We have defined five steps that will help prepare your organisation for the age of quantum computing.

This article is a summary. Download the long-read by clicking on the button on the right.

Understanding current and future threats to public-key cryptography

So far, cryptographic algorithms have in general been immune to attacks by even the fastest computers. However, within the next 10 years, cybercriminals and nation-state actors with access to quantum computing capabilities may be able to crack public-key cryptography algorithms. And even now, when quantum computers are not yet available, advanced attackers might already be collecting and storing stolen encrypted data and related communications, which they could decrypt when quantum computers become available.

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NIST and WEF initiatives

Fortunately, many global and national institutes are already aware of this frightening scenario. They are developing tools to help businesses, public sector organisations and society as a whole to prepare for current and future threats. For instance, the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plans to announce standardised quantum-resistant algorithms by 2024. This will help organisations to upgrade their existing public-key cryptography systems. Also, NIST is developing a playbook and other practices and recommendations that will simplify the migration from current public-key cryptography algorithms to quantum-resistant ones. Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has called for the development of a quantum security coalition that should promote the adoption of secure quantum solutions, and develop global governance principles and models.

Five actions that will help you prepare for postquantum cryptography

But how can you prepare your own organisation for current and future threats in the field of quantum computing? Deloitte Insights has published a long-read on this topic which discusses four security services that are foundational to network communications and e-commerce transactions. The publication also explains how various types of cryptographic techniques work, and most importantly: it describes five steps to ready your organisation for the cyber risks of quantum computing. After all, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.

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