IBM is teaming up with industry leaders in the first taskforce dedicated to global adoption of quantum-safe cryptography protections for telecommunications. This group will undertake the crucial step of charting a roadmap to quantum-safe networks and operational criteria.
Accelerated developments in quantum computing demonstrate immense potential business value. These systems show promise for solving previously intractable problems in machine learning, molecular modeling, optimization, materials science, and much more. But they also present new and foundational risks for our modern shared digital infrastructure, due to their potential future ability to crack today’s cryptography schemes. Therefore, we need quantum-safe cryptography to secure our communication networks, transactions, and sensitive data for the coming era of fault-tolerant quantum computing.
A clear plan of action devised by a broad coalition of industry leaders is crucial to charting that course. Together, IBM, GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communication Association) and Vodafone will work to identify key steps required for implementing quantum-safe technologies across critical telecommunications infrastructure, such as the networks underpinning internet access and public utility management.
A future fault tolerant quantum computer could break today's encryption safeguards, and malicious actors could use this capability to destabilize today’s cybersecurity systems if we aren’t prepared. These actors could already be collecting large swaths of encrypted data now, hoping to leverage some new tool for later decryption. Proactive steps today are critical to protect information against these emergent threats and ensure data security for the years ahead. This is especially crucial for those private sector and government entities responsible for global digital infrastructure.
The stakes are high. Banking details, health records, public-sector computing systems, and sensitive business data must be protected at all touch points along global connectivity networks. Key governmental and industrial infrastructure must be updated in the face of these emergent computing paradigms and the potential risk they present to existing systems.
Telecommunications companies control the access points that connect Quantum-safe cryptography is here. It’s time for industry to adopt it. Read more.governments, industries, and every element of the global economy. They manage foundational information infrastructure, and serve as the first line of defense against attacks seeking to undermine global information security. Supply chain complexities add further nuance to these considerations, and those companies responsible for fabricating physical components of telecommunications systems play a central role. They will need to work closely with service providers and regulatory bodies to ensure these systems are not compromised by hardware hacks, which could undermine otherwise effective, newly instituted security measures.
The work of transmitting data from one physical circuit to another is also inherently collaborative. As central pillars of global information exchange, a unified strategy by telco leaders on new cryptographic standards is critical. Inconsistent criteria would present weak links in updated data security structures, and could undermine larger collaborative preparations for these new cybersecurity risks. IBM Quantum Safe experts will work with GMSA, Vodafone, and other taskforce members to define approaches for the adoption of quantum-safe cryptographic defenses. Coalition sub-groups dedicated to identifying common quantum-safe encryption needs, constructing integration roadmaps, and shaping public policy will improve the speed and granularity of these analyses.
Our leadership in quantum computing and quantum-safe cryptography uniquely positions IBM to offer unrivaled insight in charting a telco roadmap to quantum-safe data security.
Quantum-safe cryptography schemes are already here, based on math problems that quantum as well as classical computers find difficult to solve. The U.S. government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has already chosen On July 5, 2022, NIST announced the first quantum-safe cryptography protocol standards for cybersecurity in the quantum computing era. IBM scientists helped develop three of the four standards. Read more.four quantum-safe algorithms from a pool of nearly 70 applicants to be used in its “post-quantum cryptographic standard.”
IBM developed three of these four quantum-safe algorithms in conjunction with academic and industry partners, and we bring this industry-leading expertise to GSMA’s new task force. Our leadership in quantum computing and quantum-safe cryptography uniquely positions IBM to offer unrivaled insight in charting a telco roadmap to quantum-safe data security.
Our path forward is clear: We must assess the risks at hand, implement new quantum-safe cybersecurity approaches with the help of industry leaders, and act with speed and purpose to secure our most sensitive data now. Initiatives to understand the impact of quantum-safe cryptography on telco operator networks represent a crucial first step toward global preparedness. This GSMA taskforce provides a framework to facilitate discussion of these pressing problems among service providers and operators, with IBM Quantum Safe expertise at the helm.
Quantum computing holds vast potential for driving research and advancements across a wide array of industries. But that vast potential also portends foundational information security risks. Acting now to ensure adoption of quantum-safe cryptography across global telecommunications infrastructures is a crucial step in preparing for the quantum age.
Date29 Sep 2022
- Note 1: Quantum-safe cryptography is here. It’s time for industry to adopt it. Read more. ↩︎
- Note 2: On July 5, 2022, NIST announced the first quantum-safe cryptography protocol standards for cybersecurity in the quantum computing era. IBM scientists helped develop three of the four standards. Read more. ↩︎