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White House Moves to Shore Up US Post-Quantum Cryptography Posture

Biden's executive order pushes new NIST quantum-cryptography standards and directs federal government to move toward quantum-resistant cybersecurity.

The Biden administration has issued a pair of presidential directives that establish a national policy on quantum computing and lay out a plan to protect both the government and business sectors against quantum-based cyberattacks. 

One of the directives establishes an advisory board, while the national security memorandum (NMS) orders direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to come up with new standards through a new "Migration to Post-Quantum Cryptography Project." The group's work will encourage public-private sector collaboration and provide a road map for IT departments to transition into a post quantum-computing world, according to the White House fact sheet on the directives

A White House senior administration official responsible for coordinating the NSN told reporters on a background call that although the reality of a quantum-computing threat is likely "years away," the country needs to prepare now. 

"Current research shows that at some point in the not-too-distant future, when quantum information science matures and quantum computers are able reach a sufficient size and level of sophistication, they will be capable of breaking much of the cryptography that currently secures our digital communications," the administration official said. "America must start the lengthy process of updating our IT infrastructure today to protect against this quantum-computing threat tomorrow."