Securing Communications in the Quantum Computing Age: Managing the Risks to Encryption [book]

Michael Vermeer, Evan Peet
2020
MANAGING THE RISKS TO ENCRYPTION Cover design: Peter Soriano Cover image: Adobe Stock/sakkmesterke Limited Print and Electronic Distribution Rights This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited. Permission is given to duplicate this document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Permission is
more » ... . Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of our research documents for commercial use. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.html. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors. R ® is a registered trademark. For more information on this publication, visit www.rand.org/t/RR3102. Summary and Recommendations T he world is waiting for the first quantum computers, which are expected to revolutionize computing. Their unprecedented power may also enable them to crack the digital encryption system upon which the modern information and communication infrastructure depends. By breaking that encryption, quantum computing could jeopardize military communications, financial transactions, and the support system for the global economy. This report explores those risks by assessing, first, how quickly quantum computers are likely to be developed; second, how quickly encryption that can withstand attacks by quantum computers-or postquantum cryptography (PQC)-is likely to be standardized; and third, how quickly and widely PQC will be adopted. The analysis concludes that the threat to the security of the modern communications infrastructure is urgent but manageable, and the authors offer recommendations to the U.S. government for responding. There is already a race among nations and corporations attempting to develop quantum computers (primarily in the United
doi:10.7249/rr3102 fatcat:knjlfoqcxrcxzlskbw7vbokyme