Cybersecurity in an Era With Quantum Computers: Will We Be Ready?

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 202 (Hynes Convention Center)
Michele Mosca, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

Emerging quantum technologies will help solve important problems for humanity, but they will also break currently deployed public-key cryptography which is one of the pillars of modern-day cybersecurity. Thus we need to migrate our systems and practices to ones that are designed to be safe against quantum computers before large-scale quantum computers are built.

Impressive progress in developing the building blocks of a scalable quantum computer indicates that the prospect of a large-scale quantum computer is a medium-term threat. There are viable options for new quantum-safe cryptographic tools, but the road ahead is neither easy nor fast. It is not clear that our cyber systems will be protected in time to prevent the collapse of critical systems or the compromise of confidential information that is currently being protected with quantum-vulnerable ciphers.

A wide range of research problems need to be aggressively addressed, and business and policy decisions are required to drive the necessary transition.