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The clock is ticking for public key encryption. Of researchers anticipating quantum computers being able to decrypt public-key algorithms as early as 2030, organizations are under increasing pressure to find quantum-resistant algorithms to protect their data from threat actors.
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One such organization is the US Department of Air Force, which today partnered with AI and quantum security provider SandboxAQthe award of a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to the supplier.
As part of the contract, the provider will perform post-quantum cryptographic inventory analysis and performance benchmarking.
More broadly, the Air Force’s partnership with SandboxAQ highlights that the threat of post-quantum computing is not just an abstract, theoretical threat, but a plausible risk that companies should prepare for now.
The Mandate for Quantum Cryptography
This new partnership marks SandboxAQ’s first military contract in its history turned off from Alphabet In March earlier this year, and is part of the Air Force’s effort to prepare The Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Actrequiring US federal agencies to upgrade to post-quantum encryption.
The announcement comes amid a wave after NIST selected four post-quantum encryption algorithms to become part of the post-quantum cryptographic standard, and after Google Cloud announced it has deployed a post-quantum cryptographic algorithm to help secure its internal ALTS protocol.
While the momentum of post-quantum cryptography may seem speculative at first glance, the risks of quantum computing are now visible. For example, Harvest Now Decrypt Later or store-now-decrypt-later attacks mean that state actors and cybercriminals can collect and store encrypted data today to decrypt it at a later date.
“U.S. adversaries collect encrypted data with the intent of misusing it once they deploy quantum computers — these are known as store-now-decrypt-later attacks,” said Jen Sovada, president of the public sector at SandboxAQ.
If successful, these attacks would allow threat actors to decrypt protected information at will.
Quantum computers in the hands of hostile nation states could wreak havoc on US national security if post-quantum cryptography, or PQC, is not urgently implemented. PQC implementation in national security systems is expected to take years and SandBoxAQ is proud to support the Air Force in this critical first step,” Sovada said.
The Quantum Cryptography Market
SandboxAQ falls within the market for quantum cryptographywhich researchers say will grow from a value of $102.34 million in 2021 to $476.83 million in 2030, with a CAGR of 18.67% as more enterprises look to prepare for Y2Q.
As the market grows, other post-quantum providers are loving it PQShield are also attracting significant interest, raising $20 million in Series A funding earlier this year, enabling companies to offer cryptography on chip and in the cloud. This includes IoT firmware, public key infrastructure, server technologies, and end-user applications.
It is worth noting that PQShield researchers also contributed to the development of each of the first international PQC NIST standards.
Another promising provider in the space is After Quantumwhich offers a quantum-secure end-to-end encrypted messaging app, post-quantum VPN, and a quantum-ready multi-factor biometric identity system for passwordless login. Crunch basePost-Quantum has raised $11.2 million in funding to date.
SandboxAQ’s partnership with the US Air Force and plans to establish further relationships with the public sector will help position it as one of the most “battle-tested” post-quantum cryptography providers on the market.
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