The world’s data is currently protected as it moves across the internet by public key encryption algorithms such as RSA, Elliptic Curve and ElGamal. These algorithms revolutionised information security and have served the world well, enabling digital commerce, secure communications and remote access to financial services. Unfortunately, just as the code breakers of World War 2 built early computers to defeat Enigma, so a new technological risk has emerged.
Quantum computers can break current public key encryption. These devices are commercially available, and code-breaking versions are close behind. Rapid progress in their development means that they are now a business risk, one requiring mitigation strategies today. Information that needs to be secure in 5 years or more needs to be protected now.
The risk of quantum code breaking is so pressing that the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched a process to develop the next generation of cryptography. Post-Quantum is the last commercial business in the competition.