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NIST Report Eyes ‘Quantum-Resistant’ Cryptography

SecurityLockA report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology explores algorithms that can help mitigate the potential threats quantum computing poses on cryptography.

NIST said Thursday the Report on Post-Quantum Cryptography outlines the agency’s plans to secure electronic information in the advent of quantum computers and suggests that organizations switch to safer encryption algorithms.

“There has been a lot of research into quantum computers in recent years, and everyone from major computer companies to the government want their cryptographic algorithms to be what we call ‘quantum resistant,'” said NIST mathematician Dustin Moody.

“So if and when someone does build a large-scale quantum computer, we want to have algorithms in place that it can’t crack.”

He added that the forward-looking approach to the protection of systems from quantum attacks is important because the selection of appropriate cryptographic systems could take up to 20 years.

NIST said it also looks to launch an open collaboration initiative with the public to create and vet cryptographic methods that could repel quantum attacks.

Moody noted that the public competition will likely have more than one winner because quantum computers could break into multiple systems and would therefore require different protection techniques.

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