Joe Biden signed a national security memorandum on May 4 devoted to quantum computing. Beyond American aspirations to dominate this technological field full of promise, the text reflects the concern of the United States to see the emergence of a computer capable of breaking all current cryptographic systems.
US Crypto’s Vulnerability to Quantum Computing Prospects
With this text, the American president aims to ” drive innovations across the U.S. economy, from energy to medicine, through advances in computing, networking, and sensing “. He insists that the United States must maintain its leadership in “the science of quantum computing” by promoting cooperation between the public sector, private companies and research.
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However, it is the security of American computer systems that occupies a prominent place in the memorandum. In a statement issued in parallel, the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Paul Nakasone, explains that a ” cryptographically relevant quantum computer could jeopardize civilian and military communications, as well as critical infrastructure monitoring and control systems “.
Perspective ” not so far “to believe” current research According to the words of a senior American official relayed by The Record. American cryptographic systems operate on principles established in the late 1970s and constantly updated ever since.
The prospects of quantum computing could call into question the effectiveness of these cryptographic systems. To anticipate this risk, forecast for 2030 according to a report submitted to the American Congress and relayed by The Registerthe Biden administration is taking a number of steps.
Within 90 days to a year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) must publish new cryptographic standards to protect American systems from this danger. NIST, NSA, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will each have a number of missions to upgrade American cryptography.
An international technological race
On the same day Joe Biden signed an executive order to create a National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee. Composed of representatives of the administration and 26 experts from industry, universities and federal laboratories, its task will be to inform the general public and Washington, to provide analyses, advise and reflect on quantum applications.
This executive order builds on Donald Trump’s National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018. A $1.2 billion (€1.1 billion) plan to advance quantum technologies in the United States. The country of Uncle Sam is engaged in a race for supremacy in this strategic sector with China. Researchers in the Middle Kingdom keep claiming new advances in the sector.
In France, Emmanuel Macron has displayed in 2021 the ambition to make France the third major quantum country alongside the American and Chinese giants. The President of the Republic has set up a roadmap over the next five years to develop quantum technologies. 1.8 billion euros have been dedicated to this project. The race is on.