Tech Giants Launch Post-Quantum Cryptography Coalition

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A new tech consortium launched today with a mission to drive adoption of post-quantum cryptography (PQC).

The PQC Coalition features Microsoft, IBM Quantum, MITRE, PQShield, SandboxAQ and the University of Waterloo among its founding members. The goal will be to improve uptake of PQC in commercial and open source technologies.

Quantum computing represents an existential threat to Shor’s algorithm – the bedrock on which all asymmetric encryption is built.

Although functioning quantum computers are still years away, experts have been warning that national and economic security could be imperilled if they find their way into the wrong hands.

Read more on quantum computing: President Biden Signs Quantum Cybersecurity Preparedness Act into Law

That’s why the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) last month published a new draft set of PQC standards, after selecting several new PQC algorithms that will be resistant to cracking by quantum computing.

PQC Coalition members said they will look to work alongside NIST and the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) PQC Migration Project, to provide technology and guidance for the community.

It will initially run four workstreams to:

  • Advance standards to drive PQC migration
  • Create technical materials to support education and workforce development
  • Produce and verify open source, production-quality code, and implement side-channel resistant code for industry verticals
  • Ensure cryptographic “agility”

“Quantum computers may not be here yet, but their impending arrival is already bringing both opportunities and threats to national and economic security,” said Charles Clancy, chief futurist and senior vice president at MITRE.

“Government and industry need to move together with urgency so that sensitive data and communications is not vulnerable to exposure in the future.”

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