Quantum Computing Threat and NSA
Cyber security is a big problem for all nations. The rise of quantum computing only makes it more complex. It is true that quantum computers are still in a nascent stage, but quantum computing research is progressing at a fast pace and it won’t be long before we have a fully-fledged quantum computer.
Quantum computing has vast military applications, so it is not a surprise that many government agencies are spending large amounts of money on quantum computing, like the NSA. Quantum computers are not suitable for daily tasks, but that is not where their utility lies. For example, they are used to break encryptions, which is hardly normal computing. Basically, you can use them for hacking into other computer systems. Embedded engineers are going to be a vital cog in this because quantum computers are built on solid state systems.
The NSA has already announced that it is moving to quantum resistant algorithms as a safeguard against quantum computers. Currently, the NSA and its vendors are using Suite B cryptographic algorithms. Many analysts have lauded the NSA for this move, since quantum computing is considered a real threat to public key infrastructure.
PKI enables users on unsecure public networks like the internet to privately and securely exchange data and money. Online payment systems and email clients are built on public key infrastructure. Embedded designers would do well to understand quantum computing, so that they are ready for developments in quantum computing in the near future.