(NextGov) The Defense Information Systems Agency is asking security researchers to share ideas for protecting the Pentagon’s IT infrastructure against quantum computers. Though today’s quantum systems are still in their infancy, military officials worry their more powerful successors will be able to easily crack the codes used to secure military networks today.
“The exact time of the arrival of the quantum-computing era is unknown,” DISA officials wrote in the solicitation. “However, [the Defense Department] must begin now to prepare its information security systems to be able to resist attacks from large-scale quantum computers.”
The Pentagon relies on public-key encryption to mask the data and activity on its networks from online intruders. Quantum computers, which will be exponentially more powerful than the fastest supercomputers on Earth today, would make short work of traditional cryptography, DISA officials said. As such, they want to bolster the Pentagon’s network security before adversaries can get their hands on the tech.