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NSA Releases Quantum Computing, Post-Quantum Cryptography FAQs

National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters
National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters
National Security Agency (NSA) offers answers to quantum computing and quantum cryptography frequently asked questions.

Quantum computing and post-quantum cryptography concerns are moving more into the mainstream of cryptographic discussions, particularly in areas concerned with national defense. The National Security Agency (NSA) released a frequently asked questions document on Quantum Computing and Post-Quantum Cryptography.

The 8-page document offers an overview of quantum computing, its relationship to cryptography, the Commercial National Security Algorithm Suite, Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) and National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) and future algorithms and cryptography. The document answers several questions such as:

  • What is a quantum computer?
  • What makes one cryptographically relevant?
  • Can I mitigate the quantum threat by using a pre-shared key?
  • What is “quantum-resistant” or “post-quantum” cryptography?

More details regarding NSA’s Post-Quantum Cybersecurity Resources and NSA’s perspective on quantum key distribution and quantum cryptography can be found here.

According to the NSA, quantum key distribution uses the unique properties of quantum mechanical systems to generate and distribute cryptographic keying material using special purpose technology. Quantum cryptography uses the same physics principles and similar technology to communicate over a dedicated communications link.

National Security Systems (NSS) partners asked NSA Cybersecurity to share its view on the remaining algorithms in the NIST post-quantum standardization effort. The NSA added it is making efforts to be more transparent in securing NSS.

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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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