Mace unveils bill to strengthen cybersecurity in age of quantum computing

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) on Monday cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would protect national security by encouraging the federal government to strategize ways to protect sensitive information databases from cyberattacks in the age of quantum computing.

“I’m optimistic about the power of quantum computing as part of the new technological frontier, but we must take preemptive steps to ensure bad actors aren’t able to use this technology in more sinister ways,” Rep. Mace said. “Our government must learn from past mistakes and take action now to protect its citizens from future cyber security threats.”

Rep. Mace signed on as an original cosponsor of the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, H.R. 7535, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

The rapid progress of quantum computing could lead to the potential for adversaries to steal sensitive encrypted data today using so-called classical computers and then wait until more powerful quantum systems are available to decrypt it, according to the text of the bill.
Therefore, H.R. 7535 aims to prompt the migration of federal government information technology systems to quantum-resistant cryptography.
The government-wide approach to post-quantum cryptography should prioritize developing applications, hardware intellectual property, and software that can be easily updated to developing support cryptographic agility, the bill says.

The legislation, which is being considered by the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, is supported by Google, IBM, PQSecure Technologies, QuSecure, Maybell Quantum, and Quantinuum.

Rep. Khanna said he was a big supporter of federal funding for quantum computing. “Like with any new technology, however, we have to plan ahead for potential nefarious uses. A world where all of our encrypted data is exposed would have catastrophic implications for national security and the economy,” he added.

The text of the bill states that within one year of when the director of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued post-quantum cryptography standards, the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Chief Information Officers Council, must prioritize the migration to post-quantum cryptography, and assess executive agencies that have information technology systems that do not use post-quantum cryptography, including digital signatures.

“I’m confident the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will be capable of ensuring Americans are shielded from these threats before there’s no going back,” Rep. Mace said.