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Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act introduced to Senate to improve federal security

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Last week, U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a security modernization bill known as the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act to address wide-reaching cybersecurity issues.

The bill would require federal agencies to engage the most up-to-date cybersecurity protections to resist the advancements and spreading availability of quantum computers. It would also dictate the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create new guidance for federal agencies, expecting them to assess critical systems within a year after the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issues post-quantum cryptography standards.

“Quantum computing will provide for huge advances in computing power, but it will also create new cybersecurity challenges,” Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said. “This bipartisan legislation will require the government to inventory its cryptographic systems, determine which are most at risk from quantum computing, and upgrade those systems accordingly. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this legislation.”

According to the lawmakers, it is a matter of being protective against data breaches. The bill also follows directives from President Joe Biden earlier this year, which called for greater emphasis on technology development and simultaneously protecting U.S. technology from theft and misuse by bad actors.

“Our national security information must remain secure as this technology quickly develops, and it is essential that the federal government is prepared to address cybersecurity concerns,” Hassan said. “I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bipartisan bill to strengthen our cybersecurity defenses and protect our national security.”

As part of oversight, the OMB would also be directed under the bill to send an annual report to Congress with a strategy on addressing post-quantum cryptography risk, funding needed, and an assessment of how federal agencies are coordinating and migrating to the new standards and information technology.