A quantum computing mixing chamber at IBM. Today’s columnist, Joël Alwen of Wickr says cryptographers have to prepare for world where quantum computing has made existing crypto obsolete.

As the reality of powerful quantum computers draws closer, concerns about the threat this game-changing technology poses to today’s cryptographic tools and the critical data protected by them have grown. Since the days of ancient Rome, human beings have used encryption to protect sensitive information from interception. In today’s digital world, reliance on cryptography has become almost ubiquitous. However, we’re now in a global high-stakes race to develop next-generation quantum computers that will render much of modern cryptography obsolete.

Fortunately, a new generation of quantum-resistant cryptographic tools (often called "post-quantum" or PQ cryptography) can counteract these new quantum computers, but only if we prepare for this transition now. Delaying the transition to PQ cryptography represents a direct threat because it’s become clear PQ crypto must play a critical role in any long-term national cyber defense strategy. 

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