Quantum Cybersecurity Threat Takes Center Stage at CyberUK

Government warns that organizations must factor quantum computing into their long-term roadmaps
Berenice Baker
Berenice Baker

April 21, 2023

National Cyber Security Center CEO Lindy Cameron opened CyberUK. UK NCSC

The cybersecurity threat that quantum computers pose to national infrastructure was a key focus of CyberUK, the U.K. government’s flagship cyber event held this week.

Delivering the keynote opening address in Belfast, Northern Ireland, newly appointed National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) CEO Lindy Cameron said that when it comes to quantum technologies, organizations must factor the impact of quantum computing into their long-term roadmaps.

“We must all prepare for the rollout of post-quantum cryptography over the coming years, safeguarding the security of the cryptography that underpins the internet, and therefore the digital economy,” she said.

“Major global vendors will, in due course, update their operating systems and cryptographic libraries with internationally accepted and standardized quantum-resistant solutions.”

Cameron added that organizations and individuals with standard office set-ups will benefit from those improvements automatically if they update their cybersecurity solutions

regularly. However, some sectors have more specialized needs, either because they have bespoke infrastructure or where there are practical constraints on regular updating.

Cameron said the NCSC can offer support in these circumstances before going on to highlight some potential benefits of quantum computing.

“As well as these challenges, the U.K. can also harness the nearer-term opportunities that quantum computing will provide, such as the chance to solve complex logistics and simulation problems in a sustainable and energy-efficient way, a real boost to our digital economy,” she said.

Commenting on the event, senior vice-president of post-quantum cryptography company PQShield Ben Packman said:

“We welcome the government’s renewed focus on improving the cybersecurity of the U.K.’s critical national infrastructure, which is under increased pressure from foreign adversaries. Post-quantum cryptography is an essential part of this.

“The U.S. is currently the global superpower when it comes to quantum-secure technology and legislation, but the U.K. is not far behind, with impressive local capabilities and talent. The government can leverage this to lead this emerging sector on a global scale. 

“Cryptography modernization is key, and to achieve this on a suitable timescale, the government must continue to support industry with a clear strategy and guidance, boosted by sufficient investment.” 

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