(TheBulletinOfAtomicScientists.org) Quantum computing poses a threat that could dwarf all modern encryption efforts. Because of the esoteric nature of encryption and the ubiquity of digital data in all facets of modern society, the government must help minimize the risk to users by ensuring that companies are keeping up with security standards to protect against current and future threats.
Experts are dubbing the approach of useable quantum computers Y2Q, short for “years to quantum.” This is a cheeky reference to the Y2K panic, when it was believed that the year 2000 would launch computer systems into digital havoc and cause the collapse of online banking and digital infrastructure.
Although the immense future impact of quantum computers is creating a buzz on the Internet, little has been discussed about the US government’s role in responding to data security concerns. Last fall, the US government did issue a national plan, and funding, to research the construction of quantum computers. At a higher level, the government must decide what its responsibility is in protecting public agencies and private businesses such as banks in the event that someone with malicious intent is able to harness quantum computing.
Ideally, serious preparation efforts for Y2Q should start immediately. The current administration should issue a plan for Y2Q that prioritizes the security of public infrastructure and private industries that are critical for citizen safety.