Australia’s spokespersons on cyber-security, Kristina Keneally and Tim Watts, have presented a constructive direction to help Australia become cyber-secure. Their statement – “We need policies that bring cyber-security to the community and build cyber resilience throughout the country” – correctly highlights the essential need for cyber-security amongst citizens, businesses and government agencies alike.
The overall statement concerns every area of cybersecurity in Australia. But the two spokespersons specifically discuss quantum computing “. . the sleeping giant we are yet to face is the cyber-threat of quantum computing. This has only been alluded to by governments.” No Australian government initiative has yet been discussed regarding quantum security. Possibly this is because few really understand it and how it will be a new class of cyber-threat. If any, few governments around the world will be ready to meet the bedlam that will occur when quantum computing is unleashed as a tool for cyber-attacks.
China is currently at the forefront of quantum computing technology, ahd has already announced significant investment in research to enhance this capability.
Quantum computing’s impact is also that some of the encryption algorithms we rely upon today will be broken in microseconds, rather than in hundreds or even thousands of man-years. Encrypted data already being stolen and stored today by rogue-states and cyber-criminals for nefarious purposes will be accessible (decrypted) in the short-term future.
A fair analogy may be that quantum is to computing as the A-bomb was to warfare. Nobody really understood the size and impact of the disaster until it happened.