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NSA Says Quantum Key Distribution Are Currently Impractical for Protecting National Security Systems

NSA offers guidance on quantum key distribution. (Image: NSA)

The National Security Agency (NSA), which is responsible for the cybersecurity of National Security Systems, i.e., systems that transmit classified and/or otherwise sensitive data, publicly shared guidance on quantum key distribution (QKD) and quantum cryptography (QC) concerning the securing NSS, according to a news story on the agency’s website.

According to the agency’s guidance: Due to the nature of these systems, NSS owners require especially robust assurance in their cryptographic solutions; some amount of uncertainty may be acceptable for other system owners, but not for NSS. QKD is a method for using the physics of quantum mechanics to create a shared secret between two parties. While it has great theoretical interest and has been the subject of many widely publicized demonstrations, it suffers from limitations and implementation challenges that make it impractical for use in NSS operational networks. For more details, please read NSA’s QKD and QC guidance. 

NSA considers cryptography based upon mathematical algorithms to be a better alternative for securing NSS against the threat posed by future developments in quantum computing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is in the late stages of creating standards for public use.

For more details, NSA’s Cybersecurity Perspective on Post-Quantum Cryptography Algorithms is available for review.

As these families of algorithms continue to evolve, NSA expects to select a single set of NIST standards for use by commercial products within NSS. NSA Cybersecurity added the agency remains committed to supporting efforts to develop, adopt, and deploy secure post-quantum cryptography, which is vital to the defense of our nation.

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Jake Vikoren

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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The Future of Materials Discovery: Reducing R&D Costs significantly with GenMat’s AI and Machine Learning Tools

When: July 13, 2023 at 11:30am

What: GenMat Webinar

Picture of Jake Vikoren

Jake Vikoren

Company Speaker

Picture of Deep Prasad

Deep Prasad

Company Speaker

Picture of Araceli Venegas

Araceli Venegas

Company Speaker

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